The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Armed Love Record Label: Burning Heart Release Date: September 14, 2004
If you were a fan of Survival Sickness (and how could you not be?) you might complain that Armed Love is a bit too cleaned up and produced. It’s not that there’s heavy orchestration or trendy songwriting, but the guys definitely have gone for a more conventional, Ted Leo type rock sound in place of their original 60’s garage formula. But nobody wants to hear the same record released twice, and so if you can tweak the formula and have it still work, why not do it?
It’s ironic that a band with such strong communist leanings and lyrics about blending in would prove to have such a unique, individual sound over here in America. Nothing is lost in translation between Sweden and America – this is no The band cash-in (although it is pretty weird to think of The [International] Noise Conspiracy dealing with the USA or making money for selling their goods or services at all). It’s authentic rock ‘n’ roll that you can’t not move to – no matter what your economic system of preference.
It’s hard to identify what specifically makes this band so exciting. It might be Dennis Lyxen’s voice, which seems constantly stretched outside of its range but never out of pitch; it could simply be the revival sound the group has perfected without sounding cheesy – “A Small Demand” rocks with tambourine and all and sounds anything but modern, anything but boring. It could be that I got sick of Ted Leo and The Pharmacists and this group sounded pretty inviting. Whatever it is, Armed Love seems to have incredible replay value for me – I always find myself singing along in traffic and garnering strange looks from passersby, which is pretty much as rock n roll as you can be. The spirit of 1959 lives on.
The best song on the album, “This Side of Heaven” is better than any other song the band has made ever, only rivaled by the single “Smash it Up” from Survival Sickness. The drums are super impressive – they sound like a marching band’s percussion section – and the chorus is one that sits in your brain for about a month after each listen. You shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself just listening to that individual track on repeat. But I don’t mean to take away from the rest of the album which, if you can’t already tell, is awesome.
Armed Love might be a notch below Survival Sickness overall, but track for track it stands firm on the catchiness scale. It’s crazy that the singer from Refused had this much sing-along tunefulness in his head all this time, or that a band with ‘Noise’ in its title would be so toe-tappingly catchy. It’s even crazier that this album slipped through the cracks somehow and was forgotten – I picked it up in the bargain bin of a used cd store. Check it out for yourself; don’t let this one get away!
Recommended If You Like:
Beatsteaks, The Hives, Ted Leo