The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Bigger Cages, Longer Chains (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The (International) Noise Conspiracy

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains (2003)

Burning Heart

Since the release of the [International] Noise Conspiracy's last album in October of 2001, a lot has happened. First off, that album in question was on a lot of writer's top 10 lists [yours truly among them]. Their patented sound of socio-political garage rock infected many of us critics, but not many in the mainstream, due to their extremist slant. So what does the mainstream do, then? They embrace bands like the Hives, the Vines, and the White Stripes, who can play garage rock without any message behind it.

So where does that leave this band? In a bit of a tight spot, I'm afraid. Why would someone want to listen to garage rock that is very, very similar to their peers but that contains a message that's pretty hard to swallow if you don't already support it? Sadly, this is getting to be how I feel. I love this band's first 2 albums [3 if you count the singles collection], but their rhetoric seems to be getting a little tired on this release.

"Bigger Cages, Longer Chains" kicks off with the title track, taken from their last full-length. I personally loathe EPs that are based around a previously released album track, but what can you do? Anyway, the song sounds as funky and fresh as it did a year and a half ago. Out of the 5 other songs on this EP, 4 were leftovers from the "NM,CW" sessions, and it's pretty obvious. Each of the tracks could have been exchanged for one of the songs that made the album, and you never would've known. They're all on par with the band's prior work, although it gets a bit repetitive towards the end of the EP. Dennis' voice just seems a bit weak on these, but that could just be me going through Refused withdrawal.

And then there's the cover everyone's talking about - the band's rendition of N.E.R.D.'s "Baby Doll." I've never heard the original [just call me a cracker], but the song is pretty good on it's own merit. It slinks past the 5 minute mark with a spastic drumbeat counteracting the silky guitars. I like it, but it can't save the entire CD.

So even though the audio on the disc might be lacking some bite, the videos contained on it more than make up for it. You get all 4 of the band's videos ["Smash It Up, "The Reproduction Of Death," "Capitalism Stole My Virginity," and "Up For Sale], as well as a short video on Noam Chomsky. The band has always come across incredibly visually, and these videos are definitely some of the better I've ever seen coming out of the punk rock scene.

Even though I really haven't been digging on this CD, I would still recommend it to people who are fans of the band and people who have wanted to hear them for a while. You get a good sampling of what they're about, and some great videos to boot.

Baby Doll