The Sounds


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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar

Sweden's the Sounds have built a career around making infectious, highly danceable, '80s new wave-influenced pop since 2003's Living in America. Centered around the engaging, charismatic vocals of lead singer Maja Ivarsson, the Sounds have long drawn favorable parallels to such new wave icons as Missing Persons and Berlin. These are all well-deserved comparisons and nothing about the band's propulsive 2013 effort, Weekend, is likely to dissuade listeners from drawing upon them. Following up the band's equally dance-centric 2011 album, Something to Die for, Weekend finds the Sounds once again imploring their fans to let loose and hit the dancefloor. On the album-opener "Shake Shake Shake," Ivarsson sings, "You better change your way/And get out, out on the floor/You got to shake shake shake." The track crackles with disco-influenced percussion, Chic-style high-end guitar, and the Formula One burn of bass-heavy synths. It’s a no-holds-barred Blondie-style rave-up and perfectly sets the tone for what's to come. The Sounds have dabbled in the chillier, synthesizer-based end of dance music, as well as the punkier, guitar-oriented end, and Weekend combines the best of both worlds with a bent toward the latter. We even get a smattering of banjo among the keyboard blips and bleeps of "Great Day." Elsewhere, "Panic" combines synthesized strings and four-on-the-floor to malevolent effect and "Emperor," with its direct allusion to the classic folktale about a king who parades in his all-together, combines '60s pop and Joy Division-style post-punk. Ultimately, it’s this combination of great songwriting and stylistic dance music cross-pollination that makes the Sounds' Weekend speed by in a burst of inspired pop euphoria.

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