‰Û÷Plowing Into The Field Of Love‰۪ is the bold and forceful third album from Copenhagen‰۪s Iceage. Channelling the rage and emotion of their tempestuous early releases into finely honed musicianship, ‰Û÷Plowing Into The Field Of Love‰۪ features piano, mandolin, viola and organ atop Johan Suurballe-Wieth‰۪s razor-sharp guitars and the lolloping, synchronized rhythm section of Jacob Tvilling Pless and Dan KjÌ_r Nielsen.
The record has a clear, uncompressed sound and Elias Bender RÌünnenfelt‰۪s desperate vocals are out front, nakedly accountable for the words.
On this album, RÌünnenfelt sings of what it is like to be out in the world, dizzy with its offerings, perched on a plateau of false confidence, bliss, fantasy and delirious self-denial. ‰Û÷Glassy Eyed, Dormant And Veiled‰۪ tells of a troubled father and son over a sombre and building minor-key chugging riff that builds and builds into a menacing chorus of horns and guitars, ‰ÛÏDon‰۪t think I did not hear you coming home, boy.‰
The autobiographical ‰Û÷Forever‰۪ begins with a pretty repetitive motif over the words ‰ÛÏI always had the sense that I was split in two‰ and climaxes with a sunburst of horns recalling South African spiritual jazz great Mongezi Feza: ‰ÛÏIf I could dive into the other, I‰۪d lose myself forever.‰
At the other extreme, the album tends to a sort of euphoria, especially in the unexpectedly upbeat country number ‰Û÷The Lord's Favorite‰۪ and even humour. Yet desperation and loss lurks behind. This is an album about seeing, learning and rejecting things, in a cycle that repeats and builds. The reference points are wildly varied - on a recent German radio show, the band played records by Abner Jay, Rowland S. Howard, Brian Eno and Coil - but the sound is uniquely and darkly Iceage.
The record fights with itself, in the story it tells and the sound it makes. It is the challenging, anthemic sound of a band in motion, unafraid of change, filled with curiosity, musicality and ambition.