Catchy, accessible and honest albeit inconsistent
Ah yes, New Wave. The genre that didn't get the memo that the 80's finished the best part of two decades ago. Fortunately, Sweden's The Sounds have given the genre some stable sense of respectability in more contemporary times, with their simple and structured rock infused approach.
The Sounds, over their journey have tapped into a niche market and kept a loyal pocket of fans. Rightfully so in many respects. The band has an obvious appeal to them. Like the 80's, this sound revels on its literal and overt elements that are easy to comprehend. Yes, at times it may be cheesy but in The Sounds' case, the style equally contains some considered substance that is highly endearing.
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Fourth studio album entitled, 'Something to Die For' is an important release in the group's catalogue. Many might even say a crucial one. For one thing it marks the first album released on SideOneDummy Records but of more fundamental concern it offers the band the chance to provide their most consistent work yet. The Sounds have produced some memorable singles over the years but their studio albums as a whole have been good but never brilliant.
The main gripe in album number four's case is the heavy handed use of electronics. In the past, the electronics were used to compliment the sound, not to take main prominence. It feels the opposite way around here. Like an inverted pyramid of song structure if you will. One could easily be forgiven for thinking manufacturers had accidentally put the new Ministry of Sound disc in the album case if the first 1 and a half tracks are anything to go by.
If a review was written straight after a first listen then you get the feeling the judgement would be more harsh. But letting it filter through, settle in and absorb itself, the album slowly grows on you. However, anyone who dug tracks such as 'Living in America', 'Song with A Mission', 'Painted By Numbers' etc may need a little longer to understand what is going on here. And that's a bit of a shame but thankfully not a major deterrent.
As a general starting point, listen to the album's title track and initial song 'Better Off Dead'. If you like these offerings then this album will appeal to you. If not then 'Something to Die For' may be a long, difficult listen. 'Diana' has a more traditional, upbeat rock feel to it that works well, while 'The No No Song' is catchy and probably the album's best track. 'Dance with the Devil' is respectable and lively, with 'It's So Easy' deserving a quick skip on the stereo remote.
'Something to Die For' is a confident release that admirably sticks to its convictions. It's certainly polished and thoughtful however deviates just a little too much to be considered The Sounds's greatest point.
'Something to Die For' has a sense of purity to it however it is equally matched by jaded elements that make the album seem slightly indifferent. There are plenty of catchy and decent moments but overall the studio album still suffers from a sense of inconsistency. A fun listen if nothing else.
1. It's So Easy
2. Dance With The Devil
3. The No No Song
4. Better Off Dead
6. Something to Die For
7. Yeah Yeah Yeah
8. Won't Let Them Tear Us Apart
9. The Best of Me
10. Wish You Were Here