12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sometimes it takes an infectious pop group from Sweden to alert U.S. listeners that there’s still plenty of mileage left in ‘80s-style synth-pop and guitar-pulsing new wave. And it takes a charismatic singer like Maja Ivarsson to make it fun. Ivarsson sings like a leader with no agenda other than to get people up and dancing. While the album opener, “Shake Shake Shake,” might be a literal expression of that ambition, songs like the guitar-leading “Take It the Wrong Way” and the synth dreampop of “Hurt the Ones I Love” continue the streak with melodies that flow down the ear canal. When it’s time to come across as vulnerable, she and her band bring us the reflective pillow-sobbing “Weekend,” where the synths are the only ones getting away with too much fun. Lest someone think The Sounds could actually be laid low, they return with “Great Day”: another ingenious guitar-synth blend that imagines what Blondie might have been if they'd had another decade left in them.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sometimes it takes an infectious pop group from Sweden to alert U.S. listeners that there’s still plenty of mileage left in ‘80s-style synth-pop and guitar-pulsing new wave. And it takes a charismatic singer like Maja Ivarsson to make it fun. Ivarsson sings like a leader with no agenda other than to get people up and dancing. While the album opener, “Shake Shake Shake,” might be a literal expression of that ambition, songs like the guitar-leading “Take It the Wrong Way” and the synth dreampop of “Hurt the Ones I Love” continue the streak with melodies that flow down the ear canal. When it’s time to come across as vulnerable, she and her band bring us the reflective pillow-sobbing “Weekend,” where the synths are the only ones getting away with too much fun. Lest someone think The Sounds could actually be laid low, they return with “Great Day”: another ingenious guitar-synth blend that imagines what Blondie might have been if they'd had another decade left in them.

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