Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Album review

The Cross of My Calling
Grade: A

Whether it’s rock, pop or electronica, Scandinavia provides a consistent supply of enticing music. For the past decade, Swedish band The (International) Noise Conspiracy have crafted incendiary garage rock tunes like few others in Europe. Producer du jour Rick Rubin helmed 2004’s in-your-face effort Armed Love and returns to work his magic on excellent fourth album The Cross of My Calling.

Espousing a Marxist philosophy, politics are still a major lyrical inspiration. A swirling organ-led instrumental sets the trippy, late ‘60s tone that surfaces throughout the disc. Front man Dennis Lyxzen flexes his vocals more than ever. He recalls a young Joe Jackson on the jittery, anti-Bush/Iraq invasion tune “Washington Bullets” and funkified “Hiroshima Mon Amour” (complete with wicked blues harmonica solo). Later, (I) NC gives a nod to The Doors during the psychedelic “Child of God” and ominous 8 ½ minute title track, where Lyxzen’s yelps are in a moody Jim Morrison-esque vein. Lisa Kekaula of Riverside, Calif. garage rockers The BellRays adds her powerful pipes to the soulful “Boredom of Safety” and intense stomper “I Am the Dynamite.”

Guitarist Lars Stromberg’s playing prowess is on full display during “Assassination of Myself” (about the deconstruction of the male identity) and “Storm the Gates of Beverly Hills.” Best of the lot is “Satan Made the Deal.” Lyxzen namechecks Patty Hearts and Charles Manson as the band locks into a Stones-meets-Santana groove. Highly recommended.

Note: Calling is definitely worth purchasing on CD just to read the band’s A Love Vision manifesto and see the unusual artwork which deserves a Grammy nod for Best Package Design.

1 comment:

idafanida said...

I need to find this CD ... geez, how I miss Tower Records!