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Analogs: Iceage – You’re Nothing

By ; March 7, 2013 at 10:20 AM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to one of our recently Recommended albums, Iceage’s You’re Nothing. Be sure to check out our review here.


 

Wire – Chairs Missing

wire_chairs-missing

While Iceage’s bratty savagery is something of an oddity in today’s landscape, bands were crafting similar sounds fifteen years before any of its members were even born. The first incarnation of Wire is one such example. Chairs Missing debuted in 1978, right at the temporal and stylistic boundaries between punk and post-punk, the sequel to a go-for-broke, smash-and-grab debut. Like You’re Nothing, it represented an advance in both penmanship and musical ability, full of blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em hooks (“Men 2nd”), plus a few more reflective ones (“Marooned”). While Iceage are usually unwilling or unable to sacrifice speed for pretty much anything, it behooves them to channel this blackened artiness on an album where chaos could have reigned supreme. The nervous guitar leads of Chairs Missing and You’re Nothing are almost mirror images of each other (“Wounded Hearts” vs. “French Film Blurred”), and the gleefully imprecise, slightly detuned lower registers match up occasionally as well (“Coalition” vs. “Too Late”). Most of all, they’re both stronger sequels to highly touted debuts, with songwriting that shifts focus to mood and atmosphere instead of adrenalized thrills. On a purely sonic level, Wire live on 35 years after the peak of their powers.

Brendan Frank


 

Los Campesinos! – We are Beautiful, We are Doomed

Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

“Los Campesinos!? Similar to Iceage?! How?”

Two words: Teen angst.

The difference is in how the bands channel it. While both exhibit similarly high levels of energy, Los Campesinos! are musically more prickly than the ballistic Iceage. The former make use of stringed instruments and sharp, buzzing guitar lines backing Gareth Campesinos’ whining, nasal tenor. The individual instruments of the latter don’t stand out on their own; they blend into each other. Campesinos’ angst is delivered alternately in fast-paced outbursts and meditative monologues. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s is thrown outward at everything within earshot. If they played D&D, Campesinos would wield a rapier and Rønnenfelt a sledgehammer.

What’s even more remarkable is that each band’s sophomore effort more or less represents a step in the direction of the other. That is to say, You’re Nothing is a more arty, melodic, and lyrical record than New Brigade was while We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is a more arty, heavy-hitting, and blunt record than Hold On Now, Youngster was. Furthermore, both Campesinos and Rønnenfelt show similar growth as songwriters on their respective second albums, the former dispensing with the bratty snark and overwrought prose of Hold On Now and the latter improves upon the heavy-handed imagery of New Brigade. However, central to them both is the angst. After all, you can’t deny that such lines as “she gives me signals / but our hearts are not the same / wants me to take her / but blockades run through my veins” or “We kid ourselves there’s future in the fucking / but there is no fucking future” absolutely drip with it. Though angst may not be a pleasant emotion to have, it can result in great works when wielded as expertly as these two bands do. One wields it with cunning precision, and the other with reckless abandon, though it’s sometimes difficult to tell which one is which.

–Harrison Suits Baer


Check out our previous installments of Analogs:
The Babies – Our House On The Hill

Crystal Castles – (III)
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
The XX – Coexist
Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
Swans – The Seer
Ariel Pink – Mature Themes


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