This entry will officially close the book on The (International) Noise Conspiracy, still widely considered as one of the greatest dance punk rock bands to come out of Sweden and led by Dennis Lyxzén. Previously I wrote about the indelible mark that Survival Sickness left on a young and impressionable Alexander Schelldorf, and how that same streak almost got me expelled from a small Christian high school due to the lyrics from A New Morning, Changing Weather.
Needless, my personal attachment to T(I)NC runs far deeper than any conventional means.
Armed Love, the band’s tremendous 2004 release, marks how much the band grew in just under half a decade. With Survival Sickness coming at the turn of the century and New Morning’s release just a year later, the 3-year gap between the latter and Armed Love was a welcome period of maturation.
Production value isn’t the only area that saw an upgrade, either – at just 10 tracks and just shy of 40 minutes long, and produced by the illustrious Rick Rubin, Armed Love is highly concentrated. Tight musicianship and creative, breathless dance sections make for a jazzy, delightful follow-up to the far angrier New Morning.
This album is at its loudest on the star of the show: “Black Mask.” And in spite of crippling, 100+ degree heat the only time I was ever able to see the band here in Florida (Warped Tour 2004), Lyxzén and company donned those very masks during their set’s closer. It’s all about authenticity in the face of potential heat stroke.
That said, because Armed Love does so much in the way of spacey, prog-inspired rock, there is at times a lack of energy, as best evidenced by a track like “All in All.” While it’s super bluesy and danceable, listeners expecting “A Northwest Passage” should check their expectations at the gates of Warped Tour in July in Florida (we’ll refer to it as Hell from here on out).
While I don’t know that much about achieving guitar tones, I like to think I have an okay ear for picking up when it’s especially good. It may be the Rubin effect (you crazy for this one, Rick), but I have a feeling gear-heads will get a kick out of the clean, crisp tones.
Thematically, do you really have to ask? It’s Dennis Lyxzén we’re talking about here. Consider that “The Way I Feel About You” has a line about “revolutionary babies on my mind” and marinate on the strides he must have made with his Roth-IRA. Cheers, Dennis.
From Armed Love, this is “A Small Demand” –
Standout tracks: “The Way I Feel About You” and “Black Mask”
Weakest track: “The Dream is Over”
RIYL: Plot to Blow Tp the Eiffel Tower, Lost Patrol, Division of Laura Lee. Dance punk. Jazz punk.
Link: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/armed-love/id302053920 if you’re in the UK. If you’re in the US, steal it since Burning Heart/Epitaph apparently can’t agree on a digital version.