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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Sounds of Dying

Hailing from Sweden, the Sounds build upon safe tried-and-tested pop rock formulas while retaining a certain honesty and sense of fun. In a nutshell, they sound like the Killers with a female singer -- and they have a good one in the delightful Maja Ivarsson. This album is produced by Jeff Saltzman, who also produced the Killers’ Hot Fuss, so the similarities are evident in flashes of melodies and the constant keyboard accompaniment.

People complain that too many bands sound the same these days, but there are still those who avoid criticism by doing the normal exceedingly well. Lead off track "Song with a Mission" is catchy in every sense of the word, with a sing-a-long chorus bound to dominate live shows. On standout tracks "24 Hours" and "Tony the Beat" in particular, their hooks and melodies possess a tinge of 70s pop and disco influence. The band also pulls of slower numbers decently, as shown on "Night After Night."

The Sounds are an incredibly tight band, even if they aren't too musically adventurous. The upbeat rhythm section provides a solid backdrop for the catchy guitar hooks that dictate the course of the songs. However, the star of the band (and what sets them apart) is their unabashed use of keyboards. Jesper Anderberg adds delicious synthesizer lines that are occasionally corny, but therein lays its charm. While the rest of the instruments give off the impression of normal people bobbing their heads to music at a party, the keyboard is the lovable guest who's not afraid to be laughed at while dancing in the middle of the room.

With their pop anthems and extremely danceable tunes, the Sounds belong on the radio airwaves. There's no debate that this type of music isn't the most creative nor the most important. But if there must be power pop in the world, it should at least be this good. At their worst, they sound a little like the Faders (the awful British girl-group). At their best, even the most cynical listener will undoubtedly be tapping his feet.

The Sounds - Dying To Say This To You
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