- 17 May 11
Swedish indie-rockers aim to conquer the pop mainstream
In 2002, when they released their debut album Living In America, The Sounds were hailed as the rightful heirs to Blondie. Such statements were given a modicum of credence by the fact that the five-piece had their own dynamic Debby Harry-alike in the form of Maja Ivarsson. Time has obviously tamed them. Once mentioned in the same breath as the imperiously-cool New Yorkers, The Sounds self-produced fourth album, Something To Die For, is more likely to draw comparison to fellow Swedes, Roxette.
Much of this record is cheesier than a fondue-party. However, there are certain tracks that I cannot help but dip repeatedly for. The Hi-NRG buzz of the opening ‘It’s So Easy’ bleeds into the thrilling ‘Dance With The Devil’, keyboards fizzing like a vat of energy drink, robotic backing calling to mind Daft Punk, the quirk and attitude suggesting Robyn. It’s great. ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ meanwhile is daft, but inventive, its percussive stomp embellished with all manner of electronic chatter. And although wrapped in some rather leaden indie-rock, ‘Better Off Dead’ has a molten dance core.
The aforementioned tracks are the exception rather than the rule. The title track and ‘The Best Of Me’ are more typical – the lyrics earnest but empty, guitars and keys meshing blandly and eccentricities smoothed over. I can understand the five-piece’s desire to present a pop-
friendly face to the world, but, sadly, in the process, they’ve airbrushed much of the character from their music.