(International) Noise Conspiracy
"Cross Of My Calling"

(Vagrant/American Recordings 2008)(International) Noise Conspiracy - Cross Of My Calling

Making a "political" album these days means calling out Dubya and his cronies. For The (International) Noise Conspiracy it's about taking a more old school approach. Instead of throwing the stones at the easy, obvious targets, the Swedes take aim at topics like religion, cultural attitudes and capitalism. Again enlisting the help of Rick Rubin, Noise Conspiracy make their new album "The Cross Of My Calling" another politically conscious and outspoken record that is ready to dance.

The band was never indirect (take, for example, "Capitalism Stole My Virginity") but "The Cross Of My Calling" has their sharpest messages yet. "What did we expect this to be? Resistance is not 1, 2, 3," frontman Dennis Lyxzén challenges listeners on "Arm Yourself" before an understated but trippy keyboard solo takes over. The band doesn't get caught up in their own movement: "Washington Bullets" is fun and bouncy with an unapologetically pop sound while slide guitar echoes on "Boredom of Safety" as Lyxzén belts his lyrics. "Black September" takes the band's original garage sound and puts a more fluid '70s spin on it while the album's title track pushes the band, taking an unhurried and more serious approach that still manages to find time for a jam session.

I seem to have some sort of mental block when it comes to The (International) Noise Conspiracy. While I will undoubtedly end up with half of their album's stuck in my head for days, I seem to have a difficult time getting my mind around entire album's without numerous listens. With that said, "The Cross Of My Calling" is tight and smart, both instrumentally and lyrically, with memorable moments but The (International) Noise Conspiracy make you work for it.

B+

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