The first two tracks to be released from Iceage’s sophomore album, You’re Nothing — “Coalition” and “Ecstasy” — are also the first two tracks on the album. (However, while “Coalition” was the first single to be released, “Ecstasy” opens the record.) They’re also, in my opinion, the two best songs Iceage have recorded. That’s saying something, considering the strength of the band’s fantastic debut, 2011’s New Brigade. I’m not sure if You’re Nothing is on the whole superior to New Brigade — I need to spend more time with it before making any such assessment — but I do know that it’s a terrific follow-up; the band is taking more chances and honing their songwriting, but the buzzing air of chaos and disorder that made New Brigade such an immediately engaging album is still quite present in the band’s sound and approach. Iceage are a hardcore band with notable post-punk influences — or vice-versa, if you prefer — but here there’s a generosity in their writing that makes these songs sound bigger than those genres’ parameters: I can hear the Clash or the Smiths in here, buried at the core of the frenzy and noise. When I saw Iceage last month, they absolutely packed out 285 Kent in Williamsburg — I’m told the capacity is 200, but if they had less than 350 in there, I’d be pretty surprised. Once You’re Nothing drops, those crowds and rooms are going to get bigger, and the attention is deserved. Iceage remain one of the most exciting rock bands in the world, maybe the most exciting, period, and it’s a thrill to watch their ambitions and abilities collide and grow. You can stream You’re Nothing over at Pitchfork now, and you should. It’s a hell of a racket.
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