If you were looking for some nice mellow music, something to help you zone out or explore the meaning of life, please go back to your Snow Patrol and Death Cab for Cutie. Ladies and gentlemen we are talking about The Sounds, and they simply won’t settle for anything less than a raucous good time.
Fronted by the tenacious Maja Ivarsson, The Sounds deliver quality tunes and stay in your head. Thanks to Ivarsson’s clear and defiant vocals, this album’s unique makeup is intensified. How to explain how the Sound’s sound? Well they definitely don’t fit in any one genre, making Dying to Say This to You [Scratchie / New Line Records] a nice change from your everyday rock album. They mix it up with elements of punk, retro, and electronic, bringing in the synthesizers and even a cowbell for their very first track, “Song with a Mission.”
Indeed it does have a mission, with lyrics like Don't believe in what they say and what you've always been told. Maja kicks it off with a Hey!, as the album launches into action and this classic rocker chick carries the song from there. In truth, she carries the entire album, and makes up the identity of the sounds; without her the band is left faceless. In the way every song is sung and every emotion laid on the table, this album seems to be her story. Each instrumental element serves as a complement to the driving force that is her voice. As for the lyrics, they are nothing philosophical, lending listeners to simply enjoy the catchy beats and themes so identifiable. Maja, honest and unguarded, creates a strong and relatable character that is tempting to all who will listen.
What is most alluring is the fact that the lyrics are real, you know it was a human, a real, living, loving, hurting human that wrote such feelings on paper. These songs are the sounds of the heart, soul and sexual drive.
The tracks “Queen of Apology” and “Painted by Numbers” are stand-outs because they simply are a blast to listen to, thanks to a steady and reliable chorus line. With “Tony the Beat,” Ivarsson dives right into the sex subject, not caring about the bit of awkwardness it inflicts upon listeners. This song in particular enjoys the benefits of a killer chorus and a confidence that is just rare.
While the first part of the album is totally revved up, the second half, starting with the ballad-like “Night after Night” is loaded with powerful messages. “Night after Night” unleashes a whole new side of The Sounds.
Maja unfolds as a piano plays and her character as a thick-skinned bombshell is unraveled to reveal the more sensitive facets of her personality. She appears as a believer in love but full of recognition, seeing first-hand just how much damage it can do.
If the title of the album didn’t tip you off, The Sounds are here to be heard. The juiced-up chords paired with such clear vocals give this group a cutting edge that will leave your ears ringing with attitude. Their intense, pressing delivery is like a constant demand for attention, making this slew of songs more that just a list of musical fundamentals. Such an insistent, aggressive style is attractive and serves to add some substance to all of the fun. One thing is certain; The Sounds know how to create a catchy beat. And though they might push the boundaries of their genre they will only make you push the repeat button, over and over.
With this band, everything is so well blended you would be hard put to find any distraction, making it a cinch to catch the full blow of a song’s power and be fully immersed in its message. Expect to be caught up in the clamor.
Though Dying to Say This to You is a follow up album to their debut, Living In America, this new record forms one heck of a starting block. It seems obvious that in today’s music scene, The Sounds are bound to make some noise, and quality noise at that.