Review - Bigger Cages, Longer Chains

Artist: The (International) Noise Conspiracy

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains
Label: Burning Heart/Epitaph
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Bigger Cages, Longer Chains

Despite what you read about The Hives, it was the swaggering, politically oriented soul punk of The (International) Noise Conspiracy's A New Morning, Changing Weather that made Swedish garage rock a socially acceptable commodity. Sure, the cute boys in the matching suits got more attention and sold more records, but T(I)NC -- by sheer dint of ideology and unabashed soulfulness -- made the trendiness of the movement easier to overlook. Unfortunately, the Conspiracy's relative invisibility over the past year has coincided with the larger trend of Swedish garage rock having worn out its welcome. This EP makes it easy to remember why this shit seemed so vital a year ago. The six songs (including, revealingly, a Clash-like version of N.E.R.D.'s "Baby Doll") ratchet up the stylized, idealized rawness that T(I)NC is known for, and show how the group has honed its chops to the point that it's nearly lethal. (The subtle organ line on "Beautiful So Alone" collides perfectly with Dennis Lykzen's "unh"-drenched funk treachery.) The inclusion of all four of the group's music videos and a few minutes of Noam Chomsky ranting on "International Terrorists" is a treat, too.