The (International) Noise Conspiracy

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains

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With Bigger Cages, Longer Chains, the International Noise Conspiracy emerge out of the Scandinavian rock scene as one of the first bands to reap the benefits of the hype surrounding the area. And typical of their fiery attitude, the six songs on the EP are exciting, energetic, and often lifting examples of why the hype is well deserved. The band's approach is often compared to late-'70s-era punk, but these aren't some second-rate Jonathan Richman imitators. What they have in common with those groups is the sheer passion that rings out of every tense bassline and raging chorus; these guys and gals really sound like they love their own music. Never sticking to a genre, they move from pop to punk to R&B without a thought, understanding that whatever benefits, the song is more important than sticking to any conventions. They even cover N.E.R.D.'s "Baby Doll," turning what's a fairly bland track in the hands of its authors into an atmospheric slice of psychedelic pop. The other songs are just as great, offering vicious guitar slashes, fragile vocals, and swirling percussion that often hinges on the solid basslines of Inge Johansson. And "When Words Are Not Working" is a perfect album-ender that jumps back and forth between tense, tightly wound verses and a chorus that bursts open with loud guitars and wailing saxophones. It's nice to see a band who doesn't treat EPs like a dumping ground for lesser material; the only regret at all is that the album isn't longer. Otherwise this is a fantastic sampler of their talents that whets the appetite for more rocking goodness from this Swedish fivesome.

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