WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 — Northern European bands like Shout Out Louds are always some of the more interesting bands to listen to and view from a number of different perspectives. They always have an odd mixture of elements while staying pretty stringent pop bands in process. The influences for these bands always stay very distinctly with American/British bands, occasionally drifting towards different areas, but not often. Despite the influence being prominent, these bands’ sounds, including Shout Out Louds, always feel like they are turning music on its ear ever so slightly, like there is something unmistakably off kilter.
Shout Out Louds hail from Stockholm, Sweden, the country in Scandinavia that seems to produces the majority of crossover attractions in the world of pop music. In that regard, Shout Out Louds are fairly typical of the kind of indie pop/rock bands Sweden tends to produce. Although only typical because they sound so familiar but have a very distinct independence about their sound.
In a different environment, there might be a semblance of defiance associated with that independence, but instead it is just something that exists. Shout Out Louds definitely sound familiar as a lot of their newer songs take on the verve of the Cure at their best, but they put enough of a their own spin on their sound that it becomes their own despite the familiarity.
Everything about their show at the 9:30 Club feels like something the audience has heard before, but then that is part of their appeal as an indie pop band. One of the reasons they are successful in this sense is that it never feels like they are trying to ape another band’s sound. The band appears to be completely comfortable in its own skin.
The set is a confident and strong string of indie pop songs. That familiarity is what helps drive the set. It immediately allows for the audience to make a connection with Shout Out Louds, even if they are not altogether up to date with the majority of their material.
Despite this familiarity that is the undercurrent in every one of their songs, it is turned on its side enough, which gives Shout Out Louds their own agency when playing. They have that bouncy rhythm that comes with this kind of indie pop, but Shout Out Louds take the edge off that lightness in their songs by adding just a touch of gloom underneath the band’s exterior. It is this kind of contradiction that cuts to the core of Shout Out Louds.
They play these bright and often light melodies and they are constantly polite with the audience. Throughout their set, they are constantly making reference to the first American tour they did and how it started off at the 9:30 Club and it is that sort of politeness that feels typical of the Scandinavian experience.
Much like the area of the world they come from where it is cold and cloudy much of the year, there is a certain melancholy nature to Shout Out Louds’ sound. Whenever Adam Olenius’ soft indie pop vocals are joined by the backing vocals of keyboardist Bebban Stenborg, it enhances the pop melodies to another level but also gives more strength to the pop sensibilities of the band.
Still, Shout Out Louds set is never a depressing affair. They keep their sound driving throughout the night. The band plays to the material that has fueled pop music for decades, but put through the prism of their own unique sensibilities. Shout Out Louds are not trying to reinvent the pop wheel here, but they are going to make it conform to their intrinsic values.
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