As much as I try to think of an intelligent and witty opening to this review, I can't. I'm trying to make one of those clichĂ©d comparisons constantly used to describe T(I)NC, something along the lines of "Elvis meets Che Guevara" or "The Who and Guy Deboard." Something that can only be understood by Marxists or situationistsâ?¦
Those comparisons, while not incorrect, take away from one of the main goals of the Conspiracy: to present accessible politics and make you dance at the same time. The band has done two important things with this album. First, this musically this venture tops "Survival Sickness" in terms of variety and instrumentation. Second, they have distilled their politics into something very relevant and accessible.
Musically, the black mask collective plays "garage-punk." Their sound is a hybrid of late 70s punk, the Mod sounds of the Who and the Kinks, MC5 style rock, and 60s soul. Very few bands have touched on this combination; notable exceptions would be the Hives or the Division Of Laura Lee. (Funny that since I've written this garage revival has exploded with bands like the Strokes and the White Stripes. What was not a mainstream phenomena is now very much one)
It's evident upon hearing the very first track that the Noise Conspiracy have listened to their critics and improved their song writing. Prior to the release of this album, a statement said "The Conspiracy dances to a slightly different beat this time around." The "different beat" in question is a fuller sounding rhythm section. The band has been criticized for having a very hollow sound in the past but this has been greatly improved on. Bassist Inge Johansson and drummer Ludwig Dahlberg provide a fluid, moving background. Dennis LyxzĂ©n's vocals are passionate and urgent, jumping at times from his soft singing to anguished screams. Sara Almgren's organ is better incorporated into the band's sound then before. Lars StrĂ¶mberg's minimalist guitar riffs maintain the band's very roots-rock sound.
The album flows very well in its entirety, connected by a series of transitions ranging from minute long jams to a distorted few bars of the Kink's "You Really Got Me." Guest musicians add subtle saxophones, pianos and horn arrangements to the songs. The fantastically named single "Capitalism Stole My Virginity" is a great anthem for the band. The distorted, swampy "Last Century Promise" follows. There are some fantastic shout along lines in "Breakout 2001" and "Born Into A Mess." "Dead Language Of Love" transitions seamlessly into the title track. "Bigger Cages, Longer Chains" and "New Empire Blues" works some jazzy saxaphone solos into sound of the Conspiracy.
Politically, the abstract interpretations of Marxism and criticisms of popular culture from the linear notes of "Survival Sickness" have been replaced by a biting commentary of modern day Capitalism. It's difficult to accuse LyxzĂ©n of waving a red flag and using socialism as a fashion accessory. The focused politics are accompanied by a reading list of modern, relevant discussions. Readings explaining autonomist Marxism, situationism, the independent media, the anti-corporate movement and the open source project show that T(I)NC is very much living in today's world.
It's hard to say, "politics aside, this is a fantastic album," as the bands politics are such an important part of what they are. However this IS an awesome album. If you were hesitant to check out the Conspiracy before I strongly suggest giving this a listen.
Capitalism Stole My Virginity
Up For Sale