The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Survival Sickness (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The (International) Noise Conspiracy

Survival Sickness (2000)

Burning Heart

Dennis Lyxzén is best known as the front man of the now defunct Refused, who were critically lauded for their groundbreaking and intelligent hardcore. Their final album, "The Shape of Punk to Come" was one of the top albums of 1998 and puts undo expectations on Lyxzén's current projects. After experimenting with folk in Lost Patrol, Lyxzén took his socialist politics to a new, but entirely different level with the Noise Conspiracy.

The Umeå, Sweden five piece plays a hybrid of traditional rock & roll, 60s soul, and late 70s Clash-style punk. The style is entirely regressive compared to the leaps and bounds made by Refused, but Lyxzén's lyrical content is much the same, if not as bleak. Articulaed at length by Lyxzén in countless interviews, the overall tone that Refused put forth was in fact counterproductive to his political cause. Socialism is something that current politics and public opinion has looked away from. A public unwilling to appreciate screaming vocals and drudging metal would doubtlessly also ignore whatever message was being screamed. In a reaction to this, the Noise Conspiracy stays far from this territory, sounding far closer to the Who then Minor Threat. The band Lyxzén assembled includes vertrans of other Swedish outfits, including guitarist Lars Strömberg (Separation), bassist Inge Johansson (The Female Anchor of Sade), guitarist / organist Sara Almgren (Saidwas, Doughnuts) and drummer Ludwig Dahlberg (Saidwas).

Infectious, soulful and fun, Lyxzén's band sets an adequate backdrop for his goal of making Marxism accessible for more than just political scientists. Towards this goal his lyrics draw many parallels between politics and relationships. Abstract socialist theory is presented in a hip and sexy way in songs like "Only Lovers Left Alive" and "I Wanna Know About U." The bouncing single "Smash It Up" and the sing-along "(I've Got) Survival Sickness" entirely succeed in their goals. The band speeds things up in the punky "Reproduction of Death," and "Ready Steady Go!

The album, for all its success, lacks variety and wouldn't hold up well if it were much longer. The softer moments, like the adequately named "Will It Ever Be Quiet?" are too far in between to effect the pacing. However the Noise Conspiracy's major foe to overcome will be that of Refused. Fans who followed Lyxzén's career may not be able to accept minimalist Kinks-style garage rock from the man behind "New Noise." However T(I)NC is not aimed at Refused's audience, and can't be judged by the standards of a technical hardcore band. With your expectations in check, this album's a blast.