I can’t be sure how deliberate it was, but Iceage‘s new sound is the smartest career move I’ve seen from a band in a long time. What makes it so utterly genius is the fact that it sounds so natural and uncontrived. Iceage could have easily fallen into the “bands that could have been” heap after two better than great post-punk records and no small amount of fanfare, but any more of the same would have pinned Iceage against either critical backlash or just general apathy (ask Interpol how that works). Plowing the Field of Love is the band’s best record, which I realize is a bold statement, but it allows Iceage room to breathe both musically and in its career development. Punk bands don’t normally think in terms of careers. It’s a burn out and die mentality. But this third record is the birth of a new band- one that understands what made it great to begin with and what makes it even even better now. Yes, there’s a drunken swagger that reeks of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but it’s so brilliantly filtered through a (post) post-punk lens that it sounds completely new. This record will go down as one of the greats- not just of the year but of a career and possibly an era.