Swedish new wave revivalists the Sounds have always evinced a passion for '80s club-ready dance-rock, but on the band's 2011 studio album Something to Die For, dancing to hot beats is clearly the rallying cry. In fact, the band opens the album with the pulsing and atmospheric one-two punch of the dancefloor call-to-arms cut "It's So Easy" and the equally as urgent "Dance with the Devil. " The tracks are late-night house and disco-inflected anthems that find vocalist Maja Ivarsson lustfully crooning, "Together we conquer our planet with DANCE!" Given that the Sounds seemed to perfect the Blondie meets the Cars new wave rock sound on their brilliant 2006 effort Dying to Say This to You and similarly attractive 2008 effort Crossing the Rubicon, it’s refreshing to hear them branch out into an even more synth and electronic-based sound here.
Review Summary: Dying to stay relevant.Who are the Sounds? Rhetorical question: the Sounds don’t even know who they are. The Swedish quintet have always been a bit derivative, to put it kindly: 2002’s Living in America and its two follow-ups faithfully updated the new wave/post-punk sound that virtually every other up and coming band was doing in the new millennium. Luckily, the Sounds had Maja Ivarsson, an icy blonde who injected some verve into the band’s rapidly tiring formula.
Something to Die For comes from a band a decade into its career, and there’s little doubt that the Sounds know what their thing is by this point. The Swedish group has a firmer grip on its process than in the past and has self-produced their new album. Consistently upbeat and mildly aggressive, the new wave influences are still there and the Sounds are pounding ahead.
When their debut dropped in 2002, it was all so timely. Alongside bands like The Strokes, The Vines, and countless others, there was a major upswing in the guitar/drums/bass/vocals dynamic of rock and roll that recalled the days of Iggy Pop and The Velvet Underground. The movement was thus labeled “garage rock revival”, a term that would stick for years to come.