The (International) Noise Conspiracy
Survival Sickness


3.0
good

Review

by RandyfromPennywise USER (34 Reviews)
June 19th, 2006 | 13 replies | 2,649 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist


2 of 3 thought this review was well written

Punk? Not really. Mainstream Rock? Not really. Pop Rock? Not really. Alt Rock? Not really. Grunge? Not really. New-Wave Post-Core Dance-Rock Pop-Punk? Well The (International) Noise Conspiracy [T(I)NC] sit precariously balanced between Punk, Rock, and anonymity, but are probably Garage Rock (which if you ask me is kind of new-wave Grunge). Before anything there are some important things to know about T(I)NC. They are a highly politically-motivated band from Sweden, led by former Refused front-man Denis Lyxzén. The majority of T(I)NC songs are politically driven by the band's self-proclaimed far left-wing stance. T(I)NC are the cohesive integration of music and politics: for Lyxzén, a mutually-dependent relationship.

Survival Sickness was the first full-length album* from T(I)NC, released in 2000 after the band had signed for prominent Swedish record-label Burning Heart Records. The sound has regularly been described as “subterranean”, and there are definite similarities with contemporaries The Strokes and At The Drive-In. T(I)NC are at times Rock at its flowing, nostalgic best and the opening track I Wanna Know About You takes you back to '70s underground scene, albeit less brazen and more sophisticated. The Subversive Sound continues the energetic, fast-paced start to the album, introducing us to the psychedelic keyboards prominent throughout. However for those familiar with Refused and their Hardcore-Punk origins, it is painfully obvious that Lyxzén just wants to break-out into a fully-fledged scream and really take it to the listener, something T(I)NC doesn't allow him to do. The decorous Lyxzén shows his lyrical ability in his second language (I assume English is his second language after Swedish) and imparts the intended emotion and message, even if one gets the feeling he really would like to, but can't, smash something.

It is this “flowing” Rock which offers up the pre-eminent track from Survival Sickness in the most recognized T(I)NC song Smash It Up. The sinuous bass line and assertive drumming give this brooding track the edge over all others on the album, offering up a catchy chorus with evocative lyrics and the remarkable ability to incorporate feedback into a recording without completely defacing it.

The somewhat underwhelming (I've Got) Survival Sickness shows why the majority of Rock bands just shouldn't overdo the slow, dark songs. It doesn't sound better than the fast-paced tracks, offers little - if anything - to the album, and simply just doesn't work. A weak middle-section of the album is supplemented by the bland Imposter Costume, sans a hook or anything remarkable, which stands as a precursor to the inherently pointless Intermission, a two and a half minute mellow, monotonous and mundane instrumental. The sickness ends there though, as one of the undeniable highlights of the album saves the second-half from undoubtedly fading into oblivion. Only Lovers Left Alive was released on Punk-O-Rama Vol. 6 and the sharp, beguiling guitar work through this track complement a rare catchy T(I)NC chorus. Modern Indie-/Alt-Rock that will get your toe tapping, this is Survival Sickness at its best.

Changing the tempo yet again, the psychedelically-influenced Do I Have To Spell It Out is the perfect example of the T(I)NC's penchant for writing songs without definitive or authoritative choruses. Particularly noticeable on later albums, this is perhaps one of the band's foremost shortcomings. Yes they rock, yes they have a message, yes they are a tight band, yes they are diverse, but no, just not enough of their songs have that unforgettable hook that will have you singing along for weeks. You may, however, be singing along to the odd Lyxzén lyrical nugget or dancing to the poppy “Dance-Rock” tracks (have I just invented a genre?). Certainly not confined to a specific style or approach, T(I)NC slow down Survival Sickness to great effect in Will It Ever Be Quiet?. The keyboards come to the fore in this track and provide the lingering backdrop for the lethargic vocals on this distinctive track, taking influences from “Acid Jazz” and contemporary Pop.

Almost hiding in obscurity, the eleventh track, Enslavement Blues, is another three minute instalment in the T(I)NC scrapbook of songs with the potential to be fantastic but lack that cracking chorus. Nonetheless this is some good T(I)NC Rock and a certain highlight of the album. I feel that perhaps this track would have been a better-suited ending to the album, as the unconvincing Ready Steady Go! doesn't do the album justice.

I have been fairly harsh on Survival Sickness, partially because it had the potential to be a truly memorable album. As it stands it is a solid offering from a band who at the time were finding their feet (left foot first, of course) in the (international) music scene, perhaps struggling between forming their own identity and being 'the band that Lyxzén started after Refused'. Some solid rock with psychedelic, underground, R'n'B, and classic Rock influences, Survival Sickness never really settles on greatness or obscurity but ultimately the band showed enough on this record for it to be a solid addition to any collection.

* Although The First Conspiracy was released in 1999, the band claim Survival Sickness to be their first album.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
tom79
June 19th 2006



3362 Comments


Nice Review. I like Refused but have never heard any thing from these guys. I might check it out.

Digging: Braid - No Coast

Two-Headed Boy
June 19th 2006



4527 Comments


They're band name annoys me.

"Hi! We're really creative! Just read our name!"

The Jungler
June 19th 2006



4827 Comments


These guys are allright, I was gonna (and still might) review a different album by them. Not bad buddy.

RandyfromPennywise
June 20th 2006



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey thanks for the feedback, anymore would be great.


STLMiguel
June 20th 2006



335 Comments


It isn't that bad a band name.

MAthiAS
June 20th 2006



54 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review, glad to see these guys finally got one. I think this is their weakest album, too much filler. Its basically got four songs worth hearing - I Wanna Know About U, Smash It Up, Impostor Costume, and Only Lovers.

I saw them live a couple weeks ago and its no coincidence they only played Smash it Up from SS.

And their band name is cool, just a pain to tell people about though.


RandyfromPennywise
June 20th 2006



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[QUOTE=MAthias]Imposter Costume is good[/QUOTE]Really? I reckon it's one of the filler. I agree with all else you say though, certainly Armed Love and Changing Weather are stronger, I'll review both in the coming weeks, time permitting.

Even though there are several bland tracks on this I still reckon it's not a bad album at all.

[QUOTE=STLMiguel]It is that bad a band name[/QUOTE]Yeah I actually don't mind it. I can see why people might not but personally I reckon it's something a little different, and it kind of fits with the band's personality.This Message Edited On 06.20.06

MAthiAS
June 21st 2006



54 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Impostor Costume's nothing too special but I like the xylophone (?) parts, and it was one of the first songs of theirs I heard so I remember it well.

Reproduction of Death is a pretty good song too, and I like Enslavement Blues' chorus a lot. Basically this album shows what they're capable of at times, but other times its like they're just trying to put out a full album. Some songs are kinda boring and hard to get through, and that plus the filler just brings the whole album down more than it has to. If they made it a 5 song EP I might be saying its essential T(I)NC.

RandyfromPennywise
June 21st 2006



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah you're pretty spot-on there. There are some great tracks on this, just outweighed by filler. But there is no denying Smash It Up, Only Lovers Left Alive and probably Enslavement Blues as well are all great songs.

Transient
March 28th 2010



1461 Comments


oh fuck, saw these guys live and didn't even realise i was looking at dennis lyxzen

this band is so bad

EaglesBecomeVultures
April 19th 2013



5180 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this guy said reckon a lot

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

EaglesBecomeVultures
April 19th 2013



5180 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love this record btw

Owantjaaaa
April 19th 2013



3191 Comments


I like Capitalism Stole My Virginity, but haven't heard anything else

Digging: 411 - This Isn't Me



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