Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY
The Cross of My Calling
Vagrant/American

Wordy Swedish quartet passes its second-language requirement like gangbusters

Dennis Lyxzn is a garage-punk veteran who aspires to the strident expressionism of emo's pop side without mustering the muscle of Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump or Against Me!'s Tom Gabel. Compensating for the shortfall are emotions so brazenly prolix and political they make Gabel's angsty protests sound like an hour alone with his therapist. Mocking the "boredom of safety," name-checking anarchist celebs from the Anabaptists to Up Against the Wall Motherfucker, Lyxzn and his Rick Rubin--produced henchpeople foment random acts of revolution or sometimes just destruction--of their own egos in "Assassination of Myself," and of anything they please in "I Am the Dynamite." Generally, they're smart and musical enough to turn rhetorical gestures into convincing rock & roll. But when they subtitle the whole schmear "A Love Vision!" you wonder who they're trying to kid.

Blender, Feb. 2009