Swedish rock band The Sounds have managed to stay mostly under the radar in the U.S. since their 2002 hit “Living in America” (off Living in America), although they have since released three albums, and have toured here with countless major acts. They are said to have fans as disparate as Dave Grohl, Quentin Tarantino and Britney Spears.
I’m guilty of having lost track of them after that first album, but I skipped through the last three before listening to their new release Weekend, and it’s apparent that their songwriting has developed from the straight, party-rockin’ anthems they were known for. Despite the fact that keyboard/guitarist Jasper Anderberg calls it a “back to basics” album on the website.
The songs on Weekend are varied and interesting, all the while maintaining their signature elements of disco beats, pop-rock and punk exuberance. The immediately catchy “Take It the Wrong Way” has a frank, urgent chorus with the relatable lyric, “When I tell how you how I feel, you take it the wrong way”. “Hurt the Ones that I Love” features melodic guitar and an unexpected sweetness from singer Maja Ivarsson’s vocals, which I would normally describe as a mixture of cute, fierce and abrasive. While “Shake Shake Shake” and the title track are the singles, I prefer these two; both are instant sing-a-long favorites.
“Great Day” has a different feel, starting off with a more rustic, acoustic sound, but it’s still upbeat – in contrast with the lyrics, which seem to be about senseless tragedies in life. “Too Young to Die” has a driving, fun chorus, while “Emperor” has a bit of a retro, ’60s feel. “Animal” stands out as the most straightforward rock track, with an angular beat, handclaps and jangly guitar. I like the juxtaposition of lyrics like “I see you heading out the door, just being irresponsible” with “all I really want from you is, fall in love with me”.
I missed the band at the Belasco Theater last week, unfortunately, but here’s a good clip of “Shake Shake Shake” live. It was clearly a fun show!
Image via The Sounds website