February 27, 2003

Test Spin: The (International) Noise Conspiracy

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When a band releases an EP it’s usually for one of two reasons: 1. the band is a newly formed, has limited material and limited recording funds and facilities. 2. the band makes an artistic decision to release only 6 or 7 songs which fit together perfectly, but not so as a part of a larger project.

Oh, and then there’s the occasionally utilized third reason, used here by The (International) Noise Conspiracy: 3. When you simply cannot string together a few good songs but feel obliged to release something, anything at all.

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains is at first misleading. The name of the band sounds active, the name of the record seems symbolic, and all the song names appear well chosen, but all are just part of an intricate idea with little depth.

The five-piece from Sweden are quite painfully a squeamishly bad attempt at cool. They pursue removed social commentary but are as much a product of the society they are observing.

Each song listing in the CD sleeve is preceded by a series of quotes regarding political and/or philosophical topics. Each in themselves carry great meaning and inspirational worth, but the intent here to match them to the song’s relevance just seems way off.

Some lyrics are flat out bad (“Roses are red/ Yellow and White/ Where have you been all my life?”) and others try to be clever but end up sounding like a high school student using grad school lexis.

Having a lead singer who’s voice constantly reminds you of Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas doesn’t help The (International) Noise Conspiracy’s “political cause,” and in general their sound doesn’t match the political musical purpose, as say, Rage Against the Machine did in a rock way, or The Sex Pistols from a punk perspective.

Ultimately, the group’s need to define themselves repeatedly as a socially conscious “political band” on the official website speaks volumes for the lack of impact this release will have.

Archived article by Tom Britton