May 27, 2005

The Shout-Out Louds "howl howl gaff gaff"

Sweden’s really on the ball with great music these days. It seems as if their bands have a better understanding of the history of Rock & Roll, and they also seem to understand the concept of making entertaining music that’s enjoyable and without pretense. Think of the Swedish bands you know of, and you’ll soon notice it’s true, these Swedes sure do know how to make music better, sweeter, and downright nice. Heck, even hard rock bands like the Hellacopters and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives have a really nice pop sensibility that sounds better than American bands.

The latest Swedish import, Shout Out Louds, proves to be one of the better bands to make it to these shores. With a sunny disposition that cannot be denied and a pop sensibility that’s sweeter than sweet, it’s extremely hard to not fall for this band’s music. Though Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, the band’s debut album, is in actuality a compilation of singles and choice tracks from the band’s Scandinavian-released debut album (with the same title, confusingly). That’s not really that big of an issue, though, because that only means that the listener’s getting what they consider to be the best of their best, and with prime material like this, it’s hard to imagine that they could compose songs that are of lesser quality.

And how better could a band possibly be?!? The band has a keen sense of melody, creating songs that are catchy, upbeat and sunny; it’s hard not to fall in love with a band that writes jingle-jangle sing-along songs like “Please Please Please” and “Very Loud.”
Lead singer Adam Olenius has a voice that’s charming and warm and he sounds not unlike Clem Snide’s Eef Barzelay; in combination with a band that can write both fast-paced pop hits such as “Shut Your Eyes” and slower, mellow songs like “Seagull” and “Go Sadness,” the band clearly shows themselves a band that’s capable of handling nearly any style with grace and skill. That they can manage to sound like both the Pixies and The Beach Boys on the same record while never sounding less than 100% original, well, my friends, that’s really saying something.

It will be fascinating to see where Shout Out Louds will go next. Will they go in a more baroque direction, or will they go in a more pop direction, or will they go into a rock direction? Howl Howl Gaff Gaff is your invitation to a world of possibilities, and it’s Shout Out Louds’ passport to future world conquest. World domination? It couldn’t come from a better band.

--Joseph Kyle

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