Calling underground music icon Ian Svenonius a political creature is an understatement, as is the description "musical chameleon." Past Svenonius-fronted bands during the last 20 years include Nation of Ulysses, Scene Creamers and Weird War; Svenonius' latest celebration of the absurd is Chain and the Gang.
Chain and the Gang's introductory manifesto, Down With Liberty ... Up With Chains!, may be rooted in Napoleonic-era Spanish politics, but Svenonius' comedic timing is spot-on. While Sean Hannity hocked (and Colbert mocked) his own irony-free "Liberty Tree" metaphor this week on Fox News, on Chains!, Svenonius defiantly embraces the shackles, burns his liberty card and puts bumper-sticker patriots in their place.
As he illustrated with his former projects, Svenonius knows a spoonful of sugar—or in this case, sleazy '60s garage riffs, sexy soul grooves and cool, mod-girl background vocals—helps the heavy doses of satirical dogma go down. Svenonius swaggers and spits out lines with the ego and libido of Prince. He skewers gossip rags and blogs ("Trash Talk," featuring touring Chain bassist Sara Pedal); and our founding fathers ("Reparations").
And if Colbert was Comedy Central's answer to Bill O'Reilly, the all-encompassing conspiratorial rants on Chain's "Deathbed Confession" prove that Svenonius could offer a left-wing parody of Glenn Beck without missing a beat.