Live Music + Gig Reviews

The (International) Noise Conspiracy @ Garage, London

6 May 2002

The (International) Noise Conspiracy

The (International) Noise Conspiracy

After surviving for nearly 20 years on the sparse musical heritage provided by Ace Of Base and the odd death metal outfit (well, since the demise of ABBA at any rate), Sweden has, remarkably, produced a sudden wealth of talent. The doors were opened, mid-’90s, by The Cardigans, and now we have the masterful cartoon-punk of The Hives, epic rock with Soundtrack Of Our Lives and acoustic delight of Kings Of Convenience. And tonight’s gig showcases an addition to the exponentially rising roster of good Swedish bands.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy (T(I)NC) are a band on the up. They’ve supported all the right people – The Hives, At The Drive In and most recently The White Stripes on their recent US tour (there’s even talk of Jack White being in tonight’s audience) and it looks like their time is now.

Of the bands mentioned above, T(I)NC draws most parallels with The Hives, if only because both play hi-energy garage punk and wear a band uniform. Tonight the band don punky looking sleeveless black printedT-shirts with the obligatory brushed-forward, dyed-black hair. Unlike The Hives, the Conspiracy don’t just wear uniform as sartorial gimmickry – it’s also an expression of political solidarity.

Yep, the band have a political message and it’s pretty much in tune with the recent May Day demonstrations – capitalism is bad, smash the system, etc.etc. Singer Dennis Lyxzen earnestly talks about “what happened in Gothenburg” between songs, which have titles like Capitalism Stole My Virginity, Up For Sale and Smash It Up. “The problem with the French election is not that Le Pen got 18% of the vote,” Lyxzen declares mid-set, “but that he got one single vote”. Although this generates huge cheers from the audience, the reason they’re here, I suspect, is not to ponder the shortcomings of an apathetic democracy, but to Rock Out.

They’re given every opportunity to of course, with fiercely anthemic choruses and crunching guitar riffs on the stand-out tracks The Reproduction Of Death and Up For Sale. All five band members have quite clearly mastered their punk rock posturing: Dennis’s Iggy Pop-styled microphone swinging compliments the enigmatic presence of keyboard player Sara, and even the bassist and drummer demand more attention than most rhythm sections: at one point drummer Ludwig elevates himself into a Christ-like pose on his drum stool.

If you can stomach the anti-capitalist diatribe and the last At The Drive-In album didn’t give you a headache, then T(I)NC could be the band for you. But if, like me, you prefer a peppering of irony served up with your garage punk, you’re better off sticking with The Hives.

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The (International) Noise Conspiracy @ Garage, London