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Dying to Say This to You

The Sounds

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Album Review

It can be said with as much certainty that any outside observer can have that the Sounds' sophomore effort, Dying to Say This to You, has achieved all of its goals and then some. The Swedish indie rock band by all appearances set out to make a fun, high-quality pop/rock record and they did so, brilliantly. This disc has been rendered with creativity and panache, and it features hooky songwriting so compelling that it's easy to listen to the mere 35 minutes of material (divided into 11 three-minute long, radio-friendly songs) on a continuous loop. Missing Persons comparisons have abounded in reviews of the Sounds, owed mostly to their integrated use of synthesizers, and singer Maja Ivarsson's sassy delivery (not to mention her iconic look, complete with obligatory Nordic platinum blonde hair), but this doesn't really do the group justice. Keyboardist Jesper Anderberg's use of synth on the album finds the instrument's natural place in indie rock, giving it a chance to evolve rather than languish as a tool for the retro and sarcastic. The hard rocking guitar and an unapologetic rhythm section don't let up to make way for the synthesizers; they all simply exist in a cohesive arrangement. This, combined with Ivarsson's spunky voice, brings to life highly danceable tunes that come off as just a little bit punky, despite their strong on-paper adherence to pop sensibilities, which proves that attitude in delivery counts for a lot in the overall feel of a record. Moods of individual songs do vary, from the pissy vibe on "Queen of Apology" to the wry and earnest ballad "Night After Night," which manages to evoke a sense of vulnerability amid the just-out-for-a-good-time songs that surround it on the album. The tone of the disc as a whole, however, is consistent and clear, leaving no question that the Sounds have found their voice.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Helsingborg, Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Sounds — a Swedish group whose poppy, synthesizer-heavy music is unapologetically indebted to Blondie and Missing Persons — feature the coed talents of vocalist Maja Ivarsson, keyboardist Jesper Anderberg, bassist Johan Bengtsson, drummer Fredrik Nilsson, and guitarist Felix Rodriguez. The new wave throwbacks first banded together in 1999 in Stockholm, where they recorded much of the debut album Living in America. The record charted at number four the week after its Swedish release...
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Dying to Say This to You, The Sounds
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