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Album Reviews

Record Review: Shout Out Louds – Optica

shout-out-louds-opticaI’ve got my big hair on, my fluorescent spandex ensemble, and my rubber bracelets. The year is 2013, but when I listen to Shout Out Louds it’s the 1980’s all over again and that makes me very happy.  I am going to get on my 80’s kick and I’m going to enjoy it.  It is so refreshing, uplifting, a soaring feeling of “ahhhhhh” to hear good old straightforward pop-rock music, with beats and a melody, it’s that simple.  Shout Out Louds are a new wave blend of Boy George, The Cure, and The Thompson Twins and I couldn’t love it more.

Shout Out Louds are from Stockholm, Sweden and are on the verge of releasing their 4th album, Optica, February 26.  They made their US debut in 2005, but I’d argue they just came out of the DeLorean from 1985.   I must have heard their songs here and there as they have been featured on TV shows and in films, such as Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  Hard to believe I haven’t been consumed with them sooner.

In an age where music is so easily accessible you wonder what the world will be like in 10 years.  Will weshout-out-louds-new-lp-2013-tour be flying around like the Jetsons?  Will we be able to just create or listen to music out of thin air.   Even though a song in itself is not tangible as far as touch, Optica generates a real vibe.  Music can be simple or complex, but if it has the essential ingredient of inspiration it becomes a bona fide entity.

“Blue Ice” is the new single, and I swear this song was featured in a scene from Sixteen Candles or Better
off Dead
.  “Illusions” has a similar feel with its grooves, it makes me feel like I’m at a grade school dance being awkward and shy.  The backing female vocals of Bebban Stenborg mesh perfectly with lead singer Adam Olenius.  In fact it reminds me of the (80’s) song “Don’t You Want Me” by Human League, the countering of vocals are eerily similar.

“Sugar” is the opening song and Olenius has the Robert Smith gloomy sound down pat.  The lyrics are very nostalgic “Since I was young, sugar on my tongue, / Memories, they play tricks on me, / I’m growing old, sugar on my tongue”.

shoutout_out_louds“Walking in Your Footsteps” is the sixth track, and a music video has already been released, which is a definite throwback to the MTV video days, with the slow motion dancing and silhouettes.  The song is very catchy with its wistful melody and just makes you want to do some not-so-good dancing (You know, just bopping from side to side and occasionally snapping your figures, almost like the Carlton dance, but in a slower fashion).

When I’m really diggin’ music that’s new to me, I’m curious to see what other people are saying, because I often tend to like more music than not, so I want to know, is it just me?  Most of what I came across on the internet shared my same sentiments, aside from one critique that said the band had lost its luster and was just “going through the motions”.  Well I think Optica is fluid, with rich arrangements and nice melodies.  There’s a wholesome feel to Shout out Louds.  So I’m going to listen to Optica, close my eyes, and go in my imaginary time machine back to simpler times.

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