Only history will be the true judge of Refused's decision to get back together in 2012. While you were never going to please the more militant elements of their fanbase, even some of those who relished the opportunity to see a seminal band for the first time since 1998 were left underwhelmed by the resultant gigs. Frontman Dennis Lyxzén puts all the furore behind him with a new project, INVSN, which sees him explore some of the same humanist and political themes, but in a shinier, more mainstream musical context.
Taking anthemic 80s pop as a starting point, INVSN throws in darker elements and more industrial textures to widen the sonic palette. Older readers may be reminded of the kind of strident, chiming guitar bands Situation Two Records used to put out (The Icicle Works, The Bolshoi); Lyxzén isn't afraid to sing out, which gives the material a bit of heart. The album works best when it lets rip, as on 'Down In The Shadows' throbbing bass ("They're never going to give you praise / When you're crawling on your knees") or the early U2-isms of 'Our Blood' - even if it does get a bit shouty in parts. A fine effort, proving that - in one sense at least - this is an artist not content to just trade on past glories.