The International Noise Conspiracy with the Chickens at the Reverb (651 Queen West), Sunday (November 11). $10. 416-504-6699.
Bands these days are giddy and gung-ho when it comes to their personas, be they theatrical, sexual, comical or, in the case of the International Noise Conspiracy, political.
In some cases the shtick is so extreme that the music becomes inconsequential. Not so with this Swedish quintet. Even if you don't want to hear what they're saying, or aren't interested, their music can still grab ya.
Their new sound -- they play the Reverb Sunday in support of their latest album, A New Morning, Changing Weather -- will surprise old fans.
"Our last album focused on a 60s garage sound, like the Rolling Stones," explains bassist and backing vocalist Inge Johansson from his home in Sweden, "whereas the new album has more of a 50s-through-90s influence that's more poppy and now."
"It's a cliché to say, I know, but we've grown as a band. We've had more time together and we work better together, so it's only natural that we would change. I feel that we can reach more people with this album."
On this tour there might be more than a change of sound. People are more politically charged than ever and, in light of the current war, might not be so into hearing what a Swedish anti-capitalist band have to say.
"We just finished a European tour, and of course we talk about what happened on September 11," explains Johansson. "Maybe once or twice someone yells out, 'Why are you talking about that?,' but for the most part we haven't seen a major change.
"In the past, people in America have told us to go home and change things, not to do it here. Yes, we've had discussions about what we will say in North America, and we've discussed toning the message down, but we don't want to think twice about what we do.
"We've also talked to Swedish friends of ours who have played in North America since September 11, and they say it's pretty crazy, a lot of 'putting on your cowboy hat and bang-banging them all up' attitude.
"But we're a political band that talks about politics, and that's what we want to keep doing."