When you think of Swedish musical exports, odds are that one of its pop icons—ABBA, Ace of Base, or Robyn, to name a few—comes to mind. The band, Growth, is Swedish, but it certainly does not fit that mold. An all-female trio, they have earned a small but dedicated following with their sparse but punchy garage rock with a dose of punk.
In their new single, “Ice Age,” Growth continues to defy their country’s reputation in a five-minute song that crackles with intensity. While much of the band’s peers in their genre gain hard-edged ferocity from harnessing noise, Growth takes a more measured approach. Driving the song is a snare beat that drones steadily on in a marching-band style. Laid bare against the singer’s gritty but powerful voice and few guitar notes, it sounds more like a funeral procession than any parade you’d want to attend. “Ice Age” does have its moments of noise, though, when the voice leads the charge, rising into an expressive yowl, and soon a full drum kit and fuzzy guitars follow into two stormy refrains. But for the most part, the song gains force from quiet—when the fuzzy swell drops out on the refrain’s final line, “Tell me everything is alright,” or when the song ends on a single, ominous note—and the effect is chilling and magnetic in equal measure. It seems Sweden has lent the world some more musical gold.