Copenhagen’s Iceage unveil a new single/video, “Shelter Song,” from their new album, Seek Shelter, out May 7th on Mexican Summer. Following “Vendetta” and “The Holding Hand,” “Shelter Song” opens the record with a dirge-like drone that gives way to a wall of reverb. It sounds fuller and brighter than anything they’ve committed to tape, signalling a clarity of clouds breaking. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s instantly recognizable voice is joined by the Lisboa Gospel Collective, who add an anthemic swell: “Come lay here right beside me // They kick you when you’re up, they knock you when you’re down // Some shielding from the fighting // They beat you from the left, they hit you from the right // Come lay here right beside me.” The video was directed by longtime friend and collaborator Catherine Pattinama Coleman, who has worked with the band on two previous videos. It offers a rare, intimate look into the band’s life in Copenhagen amongst family and friends.
Coleman elaborates: “Iceage asked me if I wanted to direct the video for ‘Shelter Song.’ As a childhood friend of theirs, it was important for me to showcase our friendship and the people we share everyday life with. So instead of making a video full of symbolism or a staged performance, I wanted to make a private and personal video close to our hearts. After a crazy year of COVID-19, the world in flames and structural racism peaking at such an extent, I wanted to create a meaningful piece, especially being a woman of color and fully in my third trimester. In the midst of a pandemic it’s important to remember that those of us who are privileged enough to have a roof over our heads, food, security, love and care, is something of great value. Love is not something one should not take for granted.”
A decade on from their first record, Iceage continue to harness their lives together through music. For Seek Shelter’s story of scorched-earth salvation, Iceage’s songwriting embraces conventional structures more conspicuously than it has in the past. As with all Iceage’s previous albums, Rønnenfelt stowed away for a set period of weeks and wrote the lyrics for the album in one shot. Here, his lyrics reach grand heights despite its classic opacity — he sings of taking shelter, of tranquil affections that threaten to combust, and of a limp-wristed god with a cavalcade of devotees in search of relief. His expressionist imagery consistently hinges on the divine.
This time around, Rønnenfelt casts the influence of Sonic Boom (Pete Kember of Spacemen 3), the band’s first outside producer, as that of a sparring partner, another wayward mind to bounce ideas off of (along with Shawn Everett, who mixed the record). To record, Iceage set up in Namouche, a dilapidated wood-paneled vintage studio in Lisbon, for 12 days. The band had to arrange their equipment around puddles. Pieces of cloth covered slowly filling buckets so the sound of raindrops wouldn’t reach the microphones. It was the longest time Iceage had ever spent making an album. When the rain had stopped, Seek Shelter revealed itself as a collection of songs radiating warmth and a profound desire for salvation in a world that’s spinning further and further out of control.