Never understood why the Hives were the ones tagged as Your New Favourite Band (from Sweden, anyway), when The (International) Noise Conspiracy does virtually the same thing, only better. Actually, I do: The Hives play it Swede and lowbrow, hoping to move heads (but definitely not brains) by mimicking Mick and idolizing Iggy. The (International) Noise Conspiracy, on the other hand, uses its Motor City muscle to force audiences into action, hanging politics and polemic from the hooks in its songs. And as most people know, the only thing that gets a party started faster than Freedom Williams' abs is a nice slice of socialist theory. (I like mine à la mode, thanks.) Bigger Cages, Longer Chains, a six-song EP, doesn't change the setup much (the title, after all, comes from the 1981 Toxteth riots in England), but the group at least lightens up. Only a touch, mind you, but that's enough to matter.
Though they offer up more sax-soaked sorties on "lame unemployment plan[s]" (the title track), give-the-drummer-some slams on the treatment of illegal aliens ("Beautiful So Alone") and "A Textbook Example" of what to do "When Words Are Not Working," T(I)NC puts aside its picket signs long enough to run through an even-better-than-the-real-thing cover of N.E.R.D.'s "Baby Doll," tossing in a snippet of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" for fun. Thanks to front man Dennis Lyxzén's capable turn as a soul man, it is fun, or more about music than movements at any rate. As is the rest of Bigger Cages, Longer Chains, in spite of itself.