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The Sounds: Living in America (Album Review)

The Sounds - Living in America - www.whysoblu.comHere’s something that just popped into my head in a very random way. I’ve been on a Sounds binge since the beginning of 2013 and it doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon, so I figured I’d review their entire catalog one album at a time. Why not, right? The catalyst was my recent review of their latest album entitled Weekend. Well, now we’re going to take it back about 10 years to when they first made their U.S. debut with their fun indie-rock/new wave sound album called Living in America. We’re going back in time. Please stick around for reviews of their entire catalog – albums 1-4. I’m still chuckling that it’s taken me 12 years to get to this point. That’s the power of rock n roll. It has always been in plain sight – it was up to me to put the pieces together. This should be pretty fun!  

The Sounds - www.whysoblu.com

 

Album 

I’m hoping this review, which will be part of a complete catalog review retrospective of sorts, won’t come off as awkward or just late. I recently reviewed The Sounds fifth album entitled Weekend on this very site (HERE), and considering that I’ve had their entire catalog spinning at home and in the car why would it not be appropriate of me to review their other four albums. I might as well, right? The Sounds are an indie-rock/new wave band from Sweden led by the incomparable Maja Ivarrson and her 4-mates. The band consists of Maja on vocals, Felix Rodriguez on guitars, Johan Bengtsson on bass, Frederik Blond on drums, and Jesper Anderberg on keyboards and guitar. I first heard and saw them when I watched the fully loaded DVD of Final Destination 2 and their video for Seven Days a Week was included as a special feature. At first I thought nothing of them since I (regrettably) thought that Maja sounded a wee bit like Avril Lavinge. Boy, was I ever wrong. That was rectified when the video for the title track was released. It was Blondie reincarnated.

As I watched the video I noticed that it began to grow on me a bit but not at a rate that I would go out and buy the CD. No, I would not buy any of their records until this year of our Lord 2013. That’s what boggles my mind a bit. I think I may have waited too long. I dove right in to this record and it grabbed me and didn’t let go. Living in America has the perfect blend of rock, new wave, and pop to satisfy the most jaded fans of those standalone genres of music. The Sounds have been compared to Blondie mixed with The Cars. I would say that that’s an adequate comparison. 

On this first album, Maja displays what would be her trademark raspy and silky vocals mixed with some distorted guitars and layered with some sublime keyboards and programming. Since the album is pretty much flawless all the way around I would say that dance and trance also have an influence that does not overpower the finished product. You can tell where they were obviously heading towards in terms of musical direction.

One of the major things that separate The Sounds from other bands of the same genre is that The Sounds have attitude to spare and on their debut record they go from tearing your head off with some furious pop to being very vulnerable. Living in America was released in 2002 in Sweden and then in 2003 in the U.S. We’re going on the 10-year anniversary of their existence as a signed band and their 15-year anniversary as a band in general – they were already playing as a band five years prior to being signed by a record label.

If I had to pick my favorite tracks from Living in America – I’d have to say that it won’t be just one or two, because it’s an album I can hit play on and not worry about skipping a track or swapping out records. Few bands can pull that off these days especially in the era of short attention spans…what were we talking about again? 😉 Living in America would also open up the floodgates and get the band on several supporting slots for some major bands and a slot on the Warped Tour. The Sounds debut album would be just a sampling of things to come. Stay tuned for my review of their sophomore effort: Dying To Say This to You

P.S. I do hope the vinyl Gods take heed and release a new vinyl for this album, because outside of a few extremely rare 7″ single vinyl pressings, we never got an actual vinyl version of the entire album at all. It would be awesome to have one.

The Sounds - Living in America - www.whysoblu.com

Track Listing

Seven Days a Week

Dance With Me

Living In America

Hit Me

Mine For Life

Rock N Roll

Like A Lady

Reggie

Fire

Hope You’re Happy

Riot

S.O.U.N.D.S. (Digital Download Exclusive)

Order Living in America via Digital Download and get a BONUS track!

The Sounds - Living in America - www.whysoblu.om

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “The Sounds: Living in America (Album Review)”


  1. The Sounds: Dying To Say This To You (Album Review) at Why So Blu?

    […] band basically took all of the elements that made Living in America (our review HERE) great and fused them together with a much larger dose of new wave influence. Yes, there are […]