Arts, The Muse

Shout Out Louds get back to Work

It’s been three years without a peep from the Shout Out Louds, but after a hiatus, the Swedish indie-pop band is all work and (less) play. With its recent album Work, released Feb. 23 on Merge Records, the quintet has regrouped, rallied and realized that making sweet-sounding music is what it were meant to do. A touch of “80s new wave, a dash of pop fizz and a hint of electro-pop make the Shout Out Louds’ homecoming album a sincere craft of rhythmic jangle.
This album marks a new direction for the Shout Out Louds, as the band decided to go a stripped down route, keeping it nice and simple for a full effect. Unlike its last album, Our III Wills, the band nixed the percussionist and string quartet and decided to trust the music in its most uncomplicated form. While the Shout Out Louds’s trademark sound is not lost, the band proves its maturity with a more thoughtful approach to their songs. The album provides a combination of slower beats with lyrical depth, yet still an intrinsic uplifting vibe across the board, with a few exceptions. “Walls,” for example, is about taking too many pills. Nonetheless, with harmonious splendor and feel-good rhythms, Work defines easy listening at its best.
This new turn for the band can be partly attributed to indie producer Phil Ek, responsible for masterpieces from bands such as The Shins, Modest Mouse and Band of Horses. Shout Out Louds was looking for an experienced producer used to doing things the old fashioned way, and it’s just that the band found in Seattleite producer Ek. Though the diverse album was written in Melbourne, producer Ek helped the album come to life in Seattle’s Bear Creek Studio.
With opening track “1999,” lead singer Adam Olenius shows off his high-register vocals while melding effortlessly with background vocalist Bebban Stenborg for a sweet delivery. “Fall Hard” boasts smooth production and lyrical ease, allowing front man Olenius to melt listeners when he croons “And if you fall hard, I fall harder/And if you gonna break, just let it break/I’ll pick up the pieces and mistakes.” Other tracks like “Walls” and “Play the Game” exude more melancholy tones as they gripe about drowning sorrows in not so work-friendly substances (well, depending on how you define work).
At times, Work lacks variety to make a truly stellar comeback into the music world; however, its sweet vocals and euphonious beats are sure to keep you moving. Needless to say, Shout Out Louds are back to work, and for that we can all be thankful. Check them out for yourself at Paradise Rock Club on May 6.

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