The (International) Noise Conspiracy – Bigger Cages, Longer Chains (Burning Heart)

intl-noise-conspiracy-bigger-cagesOh dear, what are the talented lads and lass of T(I)NC up to here? Their latest EP is a collection of some tracks recorded for their last record, a cover and some new tracks. The James Brown fixation which these young Swedes explored on their second full length record is in full view on the opener, “Bigger Cages, Longer Chains.” Its lurching groove is nonetheless compelling and miles beyond any “rock” band you’ll hear on the radio.

“Beautiful So Alone” evokes the garage tradition T(I)NC helped to resurrect. But still the drawn-out verses confuse the listener. When release comes in the chorus, it is overdue. Their cover of N.E.R.D.’s “Baby Doll” is as perplexing as anything T(I)NC has ever done. One of the catchiest songs on N.E.R.D.’s record, “Baby Doll” is re-worked by T(I)NC to eliminate much of the swinging pop sound of the song. The cover seems like a blatant attempt by the group to appropriate a rock ‘n’ roll culture that they, as Swedes, don’t own.

The further T(I)NC get from their punk roots, the more they flounder. The funk music which T(I)NC works so hard to combine with their “revolutionary” message isn’t the best vehicle for delivering their words. While the playing is top-notch, there’s not a complete song where vocals, words and music flow seamlessly. There are moments — and T(I)NC’s moments are pretty breathlessly exciting — but there isn’t a complete thought here. The inclusion of all 4 of T(I)NC’s videos and one of Noam Chomsky on the multimedia portion of this CD confirm that it is primarily for the collections of die-hard fans and will not serve as a fitting introduction to the band.

[This piece appeared in The Rage.]