After two albums of exhilarating, if slightly derivative, post-punk-influenced hardcore, Copenhagen’s Iceage threw a curveball with 2014’s Plowing Into the Field of Love. Taking their cues from the Bad Seeds rather than Black Flag, they slowed down and expanded their palette with hints of blues and folk, but were hamstrung by a lack of anything resembling a tune. Beyondless builds on Plowing’s change of direction, with far more satisfying results. Frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s voice still dominates, but this time his slurring delivery works in the band’s favour, giving Showtime and the stop-start Thieves Like Us the air of unsettling late-night cabaret numbers. His duet with girlfriend Sky Ferreira on the brass-assisted Pain Killer, meanwhile, is an exercise in barely harnessed chaos – think Fun House-era Stooges – that’s as impressive as anything the band have ever done. Other highlights include the relentless opener, Hurrah (even if its lyrical obsession with killing sounds distinctly adolescent), and the uncharacteristic restraint of Take It All. It’s by no means a comfortable listen, but it is their most intriguing and fully rounded album to date.
Iceage: Beyondless review – gloriously chaotic
Phil Mongredien works on the Guardian's opinion desk. He also reviews albums for Q magazine