Iceage Singer Taps Lower, Puce Mary and More For New Marching Church Album

Photo DAVID CORTES

“I don’t feel that connected to previous Iceage records,” singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt said in a self-titled interview last summer. “One is a picture of me as an 18-year old. People can tap into that if they want, but I’m not interested in me as an 18-year old anymore. I’m somewhere else.”

One of those places is where Iceage has resided as of late: a roughly hewn stab at country-fried punk that takes its time twisting a rusty knife where old Iceage records would have simply bludgeoned listeners across the back of the head. Rønnenfelt’s debut album as Marching Church delves into that territory even deeper alongside members of Lower, Puce Mary and more. Due out March 31st through Sacred Bones (and the day before through Posh Isolation if you’re in the UK/EU), This World Is Not Enough goes a little something like this according to the normally reticent frontman:

Although I have done a few things under the Marching Church moniker since 2010, the project, as in the constellation on this album, was born in November 2013 with Kristian Emdal and Anton Rothstein (Lower), Cæcilie Trier (Choir of Young Believers), Bo H. Hansen (Hand of Dust, Sexdrome) and Frederikke Hoffmeier (Puce Mary).

We had agreed to play with Pharmakon at Mayhem, our warehouse space in Copenhagen, even though I hadn’t done anything with the project for quite some time. With two months before the show, I threw together a few half-thought-out ideas and sketches, presented them to the new band, and was amazed to see how the songs took life in their hands. I had a picture in my head of me in a comfortable arm chair, adorned in a golden robe, leading a band while a girl kept pouring me champagne. “What would this picture sound like?” was the question.

For some songs I was inspired by my friend Jamie Cripps, who unfortunately is no longer with us, and his project The Pale Horse, as well as a record by David Maranha called Antarctica that I was played one night at my favourite bar, The Nightingale in Tokyo. Those records made me want to create something that sounded half asleep and like it was being dragged across the ground, or smoldering in a bonfire, in order to keep on playing. At least that was the initial inspiration, in time it got a bit overtaken with an idea of being the leader of a soul group—people like James Brown, Young Americans-era David Bowie, and Sam Cooke were inspirations in this aspect.

Improvisation, something I have never done before, was crucial in the making of this album. The album works because of the band’s incredible ability of breathing life into these loosely written and at times very simple ideas and experiments. Though Marching Church might be a dictatorship, This World is Not Enough was very much a collaborative effort. Everyone involved does other projects as well, but I wouldn’t want to see it as a “side project”. That term seems degrading.

In conclusion, half-disgusted with talking about myself, I’m going to leave you with This World Is Not Enough—eight songs of nocturnal longing, preposterous self-obsession and cockeyed etiquette.

Love,
Elias B. Rønnenfelt

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Marching Church, The World Is Not Enough (Sacred Bones, March 31st):
1. Living in Doubt
2. King of Song
3. Hungry for Love
4. Your Father’s Eyes
5. Calling Out a Name
6. Every Child (Portrait of Wellman Braud)
7. Up a Hill
8. Dark End of the Street