Refused and (International) Noise Conspiracy spin-off crunches

photo by Shelley Hiam

As proud papa of Refused and the (International) Noise Conspiracy, Dennis Lyxzen invites high expectations with any new project. INVSN, the Swedish firebrand’s latest venture, comes after his laying low for a while, or at least keeping a lower profile outside of his home country, so anticipation from fans Wednesday night was double.

Or would’ve been, if the band’s secret origins were better known. Two attendees I talked to came to the show once they learned of INVSN’s lineage, but few seemed to know without word-of-mouth. No matter. Despite a modest crowd and onstage monitor problems, the co-ed sextet hit the stage with a vibrating rock & roll charge.

Combining the widescreen Eighties melodicism of Lyxzen’s side project Lost Patrol Band with the politically-charged rhetoric of the (I)NC, the group blasted through a half-dozen New Wave anthems as if channeling early U2 and New Order at the same time. Drawing from its self-titled (and first in English) third album, the band waved the flag for anti-societal resistance backed by big hooks and bigger choruses.

Good thing, too. From the dire warning of “A storm is coming for you” to the contemptuous put-down “They’re never gonna give you praise if you’re crawling on your knees,” Lyxzen pointed fingers with abandon. Luckily, the boyish passion of his voice and the self-deprecating humor in comments like, “We need to be pale and miserable to create this kind of music” kept his pronouncements from being a drag. Besides, those candy-coated choruses helped the medicine go down easy.

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