Iceage - Plowing Into the Field of Love (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Plowing Into the Field of Love (2014)


In some ways, Iceage's Plowing into the Field of Love is a kinder, gentler beast than its predecessor, 2013's You're Nothing. It finds the group hopping from genre to genre exploring instrumentation far outside the scope of what they have previously utilized. However, with Elias Ronnenfelt's vocals no longer obscured under layers of feedback, his pitch black lyrics can now be (relatively) clearly deciphered, and it makes the proceedings even more devastating.

"On My Fingers" makes apparent right off the bat that this is not the Iceage of old. The distant piano keys and Ronnenfelt's mumbled half-sing/half-speak bringing to mind Berlin-era Lou Reed. The track is immediately followed by first single "The Lord's Favorite", which borrows heavily from the golden age of country music.

It is here first that the biggest problem with Plowing into the Field of Love shows its face. While the band has progressed immensely in the eighteen months or so since You're Nothing's release, Ronnenfelt has not. His mumbled and shouted vocal delivery worked on their earlier material, but music this elegant requires a bit more. From here, one's enjoyment of the album will rest squarely on how much of Ronnenfelt's voice they can take. Sometimes it works, such as on the fuzzed-out, grungy "Cimmerian Shade." On other, more melodic tracks, not as much.

Bands like Merchandise and The Men have made the jump from punkier, more chaotic beginnings to more experimental, melodic pastures almost seamlessly. Iceage are showing more growing pains here than those acts did, but Plowing into the Field is still a big step for forward for Iceage, and a generally interesting listen, even if it's a bit much to take all in one sitting.