Can anyone believe that it has been 4 years since the last (International) Noise Conspiracy full-length? To speak the truth, this album is LONG overdue. Dennis Lyxzén and crew kick out the jams on this CD, recorded in February of 2004 with rock guru Rick Rubin. The release date had been set back month upon month because of distribution problems. I gasped in anguish every time I read an update on Burning Heart pushing back Armed Love's release date.
Another thing I heard was that the band had parted with their former organist/guitarist Sara Almgren, so I was expecting different organ work than the one displayed on the band's 2001 release A New Morning, Changing Weather. The organ is definitely more of a force on Armed Love, where it seems that the entire album is driven by the pulsating beat of the organ.
After the first go-round of Armed Love (U.S.A. Bonus Tracks edition) in my CD player, I noticed less of the overtly political songwriting on A New Morning that is replaced by more positive songs about love and empowerment. This is most evident in songs like "Let's Make History;"
But it is hard having the energy to fight when everything is spinning around in my head. Sure enough seems simple, but what can I do? There's a million songs about politics, related to you!!! You can call me romantic, you can call me what you will, but when I think about the revolution you're still in my dreams!There is not a weak track on the album, and each track has its own little groove that will have you dancing during each and every listen (which got me several queer looks on my semi-weekly jaunts down to my local independent record store). Having never seen the (International) Noise Conspiracy live, I can't wait 'till they come to my hometown; my mind can only begin to contemplate the insanity and energy that must brim from their live sets!!!
If I could say one thing that really blemishes this album, it is the bonus track "A Voice of Our Own," which seems like it was forced rather than the sincerity of the rest of the album's tracks.
I will agree with many complaints that I have heard about this album: It lacks the bite that filled releases such as Bigger Cages, Longer Chains and The First Conspiracy. The rawness of their "old" sound allowed for the (International) Noise Conspiracy to experiment, but not here on Armed Love. The (International) Noise Conspiracy trade that for a more uniform rock sound that makes for a fuller sound that will hopefully equate more new fans for this more than deserving group. High-profile gigs with bands like the Bravery and Turbonegro recently may help persuade Rick Rubin and his cronies at American Recordings to bring another producer into the mix that will bring the best of both worlds to the next recordings from these guys.