The Sounds / Dying To Say This To You / CD Review

New Line Records

Dying to Say This to You is the second effort from Swedish power pop quintet The Sounds. Despite my power pop labeling the album definitely isn’t without eclecticism or originality. I’m not trying to lump this into some sort of ’80s revival column. Nevertheless, the album’s melody and many times the glue holding the songs together tends to be somewhat retro keys. This makes keyboard player Jesper Anderberg’s work on the album extremely crucial, and he does an excellent job sometimes giving the songs a dimension and depth they wouldn’t have sans keys.

The same can be said for guitarist Felix Rodriguez. His licks have the ability to kick the melodies into overdrive, and many times on the album the keys take a backseat to Rodriguez’s driving, frantic ax chops. Despite the mastery of Rodriguez and Anderberg, the rhythm section doesn’t exactly consist of slouches. Fredrik Nilsson on drums and Johan Bengtsson on bass round out the tight and punchy music and offer a nice cohesiveness to the sound.

Maja Ivarsson provides the passionate, rock chick vocals for this well rounded, very capable band. Despite her inherent femininity, her vocals have the power to take the songs to another plateau almost giving them a whole new set of balls.

The Sounds are an excellent, very talented band, and Dying to Say This to You is a moderately entertaining collection of songs. The biggest positive I hear listening to the album is potential. There are two songs (“Tony the Beat” and “Hurt You”) on the album that I consider great because they are two where the band seems to experiment the most. Those two songs don’t end the same way they started. They go somewhere. They gain complexity and change for the better. I hope the band continues to offer more experimentation and stays open to change. I’m not saying they should go totally Radiohead, but “Tony the Beat” and “Hurt You” saved the album from mediocrity. Dying to Say This to You is definitely worth a listen and garners high hopes for their future.

-Benjamin Sadler