For any band, shifting musical direction is a huge moment. For some it definitely works—could you imagine The Beatles pumping out A Hard Day's Night clones for decades?–and for others, even iconic musicians, it can be an earsplitting disaster.
Oh God. Electric Dylan. Why?!
This week while trawling the webs, I stumbled onto a music video for "The Lord's Favorite," a new track from Iceage, my favorite Danish punk band (don't we all have one of those). In the short preamble introducing the video, one particular adjective sent me into a panic: "cowpunk."
What was going to be a laid-back listen transformed into the most serious four minutes in recent memory. Cowpunk is clearly a bastardization of punk with country influences, a genre that Iceage has no geographical reason to be influenced by. Why would a band that sounds like this...
...possibly think going country is a good idea? I mean, how can country and punk happily coexist within a band known best for its thrashing attitude and biting nihilism?
The answer: Pretty well, actually. Nothing is lost, not the band's metaphorical middle finger to our shortcomings, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's coarse vocals, the relentless energy, or the general disinterest in anyone's approval. We can debate the video's artistic merits (though I'm diggin'), but the song infuses a rockabilly sound with Rønnenfelt's pitch-weary vocals spread over top. The result is a strange listen for sure, but one that sticks with you. This song, and hopefully its yet-to-be-announced album, understands what makes a music redirect so successful—it's not replacing, it's building. And as this track proves, Iceage's new release will be worth the listen. [Youtube/Spotify]
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