The Sounds

Crossing The Rubicon

Written by: TL on 21/09/2009 23:03:03

Most of you readers know I like music that references the 80'ies, my friends and colleagues know I like good, energetic live bands, and God knows I like blonde women (especially if they dig rock music). So if you all pool your knowledge, you should be able to reach a combined conclusion that I would like The Sounds right? Right, that's what I've come up with as well, so how come that ever since their first couple of hits, I haven't been able to get into them at all?

I don't have many suggestions for an answer, because other than maybe trading some of the energy of their debut for a more polished sound on their second record, eye-catcher Maja Ivarsson and her bandmates have remained mostly the same. Sparkling guitars, poppy synths, catchy choruses and easily accessible song structures have continually come together to form the band's would-be infectious disco rock, but if it really was as infectious as intended, then why can I easily remember songs like "Living In America" and "Seven Days A Week" from the debut record, while I have forgotten every song from "Dying To Say This To You" even though I have probably listened to that record more?

Well I'm afraid that the truth is that The Sounds haven't ever really been that rich a listening experience. Not for a rock fan anyway. While their shiny, catchy pop songs might make a great impact in their much praised live appearances, the fact remains, that on record their expression seems dreadfully flat and one dimensional. It could be because that live energy was really only ever effectively channeled through those mentioned up-beat songs from the band's youth, or it might be because Ivarsson simply doesn't have enough charisma or strength of pipes to really make up for the predictability of the instrumentation. Regardless, the fact remains that "Dying To Say This To You" and this new "Crossing The Rubicon" both have me yawning and reaching for my skip button.

I guess if you're a fan of this kind of immediately likable indie/pop/rock, you'll be inclined to disagree with my criticism, but all I can say is, that even while I've only superficially sampled other alternatives in this whole scandinavian scene, I'd much sooner recommend more different and ambitious bands, such as for instance Veto or Mando Diao, which should both be catchy enough to appeal to those who are too casual to appreciate the really good stuff. And by good stuff, I mainly mean band like Mew, whom you can respect to read a much more favorable review of in the near future. As for The Sounds, here's a mediocre grade to get them out of my way, and then you people can add or deduct in the comments as you see fit.

Download: Underground, Noone Sleeps When I'm Awake, My Lover
For The Fans Of: Alphabeat, The Fashion, The Ark

Release Date 02.06.2009
Arnioki Records/Original Signal/Warner Sweden

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