Scandinavian music has always been considered of a caliber of its own – strong melodies, fantastic artists and always several steps ahead of the rest of the world sonically.
The Sounds are a prime example of this – a forward-thinking rock band from the climes of Sweden who aren’t afraid to make their records full of pop sensibilities and genre shifts. Their latest album Weekend has just emerged and continues the trend of strong records from the quintet.
Lead single “Shake Shake Shake” is a rousing start to the album with a strong, punchy and catchy chorus that is sure to draw you right into the record. Fortunately this sense of power and strength continues through the album – following song “Take It The Wrong Way” is a fierce rock tune with a soaring chorus and album standout “Outlaw” is an anthemic and upbeat electronic-rock song.
The entire album seems to be somewhat influenced by the ’80s, although this is not necessarily a bad thing at all. Several songs seem almost to have been plucked from the heyday of the ’80s, with “Hurt The Ones I Love” the poppiest song on the album and a melodic treat that sounds very similar to the work of modern-day band Chairlift or pop-rock pioneers The Go-Go’s.
“Too Young to Die” and “Panic” are both other songs that have big ’80s influences – the former is an uplifting dancefloor tune that is full of 80s-style synths and guitars, and evokes the memory of The Sounds’ most well-known song “Something to Die For” (check the Scream 4 soundtrack for that anthemic tune). The latter, meanwhile, is an invitingly cinematic offering that sounds removed from a movie soundtrack of its own with its dramatic violins and pounding drums. Think something that could have been on a less intense ‘Blade Runner’, perhaps.
Largely the album is full of these more joyous moments as evoked by its freewheeling title – “Animal” is an MGMT-sounding country song with catchy electronic synths and an equally attractive handclaps bassline while perhaps my favourite song (though it’s hard to pin down) is the upbeat, fast-paced and enjoyable duet “Emperor” (between frontwoman Maja Ivarsson and her fellow bandmate). Album closer “Young and Wild” comes a close second however, employing some calypso beats and transforming their pop-rock formula into an effervescent and irreverent way to close the album.
Not every song is a hit or even a joyful tune – the title track itself is a subdued and emotional midtempo guitar ballad that sounds like it could have been a cut off the last Natalia Kills album and “Great Day” is just country-flavored filler.
Despite this, it’s another solid, well-polished and well-performed collection of cuts from the band and full of fantastic rock songs further north than most listeners are used to. Give The Sounds a try and I promise you’ll be checking out their back catalog almost immediately.