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An Iceage side project sings of the apocalypse

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing.

“So we chose fire,” sings Vår’s Loke Rahbek in “The World Fell,” one of the most elegantly depressing tracks on the band’s debut album, No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers. Rahbek’s voice is the stuff the apocalypse is made of: cold, incantatory, and passionately dispassionate. Then again, the group is Scandinavian—Danish, in fact—and it counts among its members Elias Rønnenfelt, frontman of the scathing post-punk band Iceage. But where Iceage rages, Vår shivers. 

A lot of that has to do with the chemistry between Rahbek and Rønnenfelt. The latter’s Robert Smith-like wail brings a desperate counterpoint to the former’s industrialized intonation. Paired with band’s chiseled, atmospheric darkwave, it’s a formula for melodrama—but on “The World Fell,” Vår sprinkles a hint of high-concept synth-pop straight out of OMD’s Dazzle Ships on top of more decadently dour influences such as Death In June and Cabaret Voltaire. No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers comes out May 14 via Sacred Bones, and the whole album is gorgeous. But “The World Fell” is an epic gesture that rises above the rest of it—just long enough to forecast the downfall.