Upon first listening to Dead Letters, I was convinced that Swedish pop guru Max Martin had to be involved in some capacity with The Rasmus, so immediate were the melodies, so commercial was the production and so effortlessly brilliant was the whole album.
I was wrong. This Finland-based four-piece wrote the album themselves and produced it with a virtually unknown Swedish producer. Proof, if it were needed, of Scandinavia’s pedigree for exporting annoyingly melodic and successful bands like Abba, Roxette, The Cardigans and Ace of Base. While The Rasmus have marketed themselves as a gothic-looking rock band, tunes like “Still Standing” are pure pop nuggets wrapped in guitars just loud enough to guarantee commercial airplay. Indeed, it was no surprise when the infectious opening track “In the Shadows” stormed to the top of the UK singles charts last March.
Normally, I would condemn such a shamelessly commercial record with a sharp tongue, but while songs like “Guilty” blatantly may be Bon Jovi for the ’00s, when a band has crafted such efforts without being a front for some bland production house, it at least restores faith that there are bands out there that can put another spin on the moribund pop industry of recent years. At times, some typically bad Scandinavian lyrics threaten to derail the whole album, but the strength of the hooks on almost all 11 tracks rescues what will ultimately be a very successful debut.