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Optica (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Ever since the energetic thrill ride of their debut album Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, Shout Out Louds have applied a coat of icy polish to each successive album, pasting over some of the wild-eyed desperation with a more measured yet no less emotional approach. Released in 2010, Work almost took it too far, with the Phil Ek production verging on bland. For 2013's album Optica, the bandmembers took over the production themselves, and while it's not as lively as their debut, the sound is much punchier and sounds more like the logical follow-up to Our Ill Wills than Work does. The songs are stronger too, with more variety and some bouncy tracks to break the gloomy mood the band seemed stuck in previously. Along with this, there are plenty of nice touches that make the sound come to life — the chirpy flutes on the very catchy "Walking in Your Footsteps," the super cute backing vocals on "Glasgow," the shuffling disco tempo and percussion on "Illusions," the super cheesy synths on the otherwise very chilly Bebban Stenborg-sung "Hermila." For anyone who may be worried that Shout Out Louds may have sorted out all their problems and are all happy and well-adjusted, there are some heavy midtempo heartbreak ballads (like "Where You Come In," "Circles," and "Blue Ice") on hand to balance out the slivers of sunshine. Honestly, even the happy-sounding songs are pretty melancholy at their core. It's a trick the Cure were always able to pull off, and Shout Out Louds have learned it well. The album-opening "Sugar" conjures up very strong impressions of the Cure and may be the best song here. Thanks to the production, the overall strength of the songs, and the quietly intense energy the bandmembers put into their performances (not forgetting Adam Olenius' typically impressive lead vocals), Optica is a welcome return to form and solidifies Shout Out Louds' position as one of the best indie pop bands of their era.

Customer Reviews

Love it!

Lost track of the number of times I've listened to 'walking in your footsteps'. Laid back, cool and very catchy.

Reminds me of playing Age of Empires

I'm a big Shout Out Louds fan, and can happily put any of their previous records on repeat and listen for hours, but with Optica, I really can't.

There's some good tracks, 14th of July being a standout for me. But in places it's all just a little strange. For instance the 2 minutes added onto the end of Glasgow, that reminds me of the background music from Age of Empires.

Maybe it'll be a grower.


Great album..... This band have progressed into a class act.. This album is quality. Buy it!!


Formed: 2001

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in Stockholm by childhood friends Adam Olenius (vocals), Ted Malmros (bass), and Carl von Arbin (guitars), Shout Out Louds found an international audience during the early 2000s with their peppy Swedish pop. The lineup began taking shape in 2001, with drummer Eric Edman and keyboardist Bebban Stenborg climbing aboard shortly thereafter. Shout Out Louds wasted little time writing songs, the first three of which formed the basis of their first demo tape. The music caught the ear of Filip Wilén,...
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