Artist: "The Sounds"
Album: "Living In America"
Genre: Punk Rock
Label: New Line Records
Review: Back when the movie Snakes on a Plane came out, I saw the main theme song music video for it, by Cobra Starship, and remember laughing at the over the top girl who sang on it. When I looked up the band, I found out that she (Maja Ivarsson) wasn't an actual member of Cobra Starship, but that she did have her own band, The Sounds. Shortly after, I took a chance and picked up their debut album, Living in America, not knowing that I'd be constantly listening to it over the next few years.
If I had to classify The Sounds... er... sound, it would be a mix between new wave and post-punk. Some songs come off as professionally produced with driving guitars and keyboards, while others have more of a raw sound not unlike what you'd find on your average 4-track recording by a local garage band. And yet, somehow it all blends together to make an album that's damned near perfect to my ears.
The synthesizer work of Jesper Anderberg on this album really brings you back to the 80s, when keyboards were just as much a leading part of the songs as the guitars. It's a really well balanced mix, and the result is a sound that's all their own which no other modern band I've heard comes close to matching. As strong as the music itself is, it's Maja's vocal work that truly define the album.
Maja isn't the most talented vocalist out there, but for what she lacks in talent, she makes up with pure charisma and more energy than just about anybody out there today. It's that all out energy and youthful flaws in her vocals which make Maja's singing so damned endearing. She's one of those vocalists that people either love or hate, but for the life of me, I can't imagine why anybody wouldn't get a total kick out of her. Don't be surprised if you find yourself singing along with every song either... when I said they were catchy tunes, I meant it.
If you're looking for a band with something truly poignant to say, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a band with incredibly catchy tunes and a new wave synth sound that practically makes them seem anachronistic, look no further than one of Sweden's finest exports - The Sounds. They gave their hearts to rock 'n roll, the least you can do is give their music your attention.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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