Personnel: Elias Bender Ronnenfelt (vocals, guitar, piano); Johan Suurballe Wieth (guitar, viola); Jakob Tvilling Pless (mandolin); Asger Valentin (trumpet); Dan Kjaer Nielsen (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixers: Iceage; Nis Bysted.
Recording information: Silence Studios, Koppom, Sweden (02/2014).
On their first two albums, Iceage sounded like they were young, smart, and very angry, which was fitting enough since the Danish quartet were still in their teens when they cut their first record. But on their third album, 2014's Plowing into the Field of Love, the group has clearly been going through some changes. The intense, hardcore-influenced attack of New Brigade and You're Nothing has given way to a different but similarly passionate sound, with acoustic guitars, piano, and trumpets working their way into the mix, while arrangements leave room for a bit more open space. On numbers like "On My Fingers," "Abundant Living," and "How Many," the results bear a certain resemblance to what Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds conjured on mid-period albums like The Good Son and Tender Prey, though the purposeful slur of Elias Bender Ronnenfelt's vocals is something else again (given how much he sings about drinking on this album, maybe it's just a matter of getting into character). Blues and folk influences run through Plowing into the Field of Love, but they've been twisted by a funhouse mirror into new and sometimes disquieting shapes, while a stylized, arty approach to the arrangements shares space with shards of the band's sharply focused rock energy. Jens Benz and Nis Bysted's introduction is atmospheric but uncluttered, finding clean lines inside Iceage's poetic howl, and the instrumentalists -- guitarist Johan Surrballe Wieth, bassist Jakob Tvilling Pless, and drummer Dan Kj?r Nielsen -- take to this music with the right balance of skill and abandon. Iceage have done a fair bit of reinvention on Plowing into the Field of Love, but if the sound is less brutal, it's no less challenging, and emotionally this hits as hard as anything they've released to date. ~ Mark Deming
Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Elias Bender Ronnenfelt moans about temptations of the flesh, as the band goes for grand goth balladry in the Bunnymen mode."
Alternative Press - 4 stars out of 5 -- "PLOWING INTO THE FIELD OF LOVE not only finds the band honing in more on actual songcraft, but provides a grandiose, Western-tinged tragic with the addition of piano, strings and horns guiding the album into the psychic ether."