Shout Out Louds
Irony and indie rock go together like a bony hand in a well-worn glove. So it really shouldn’t be surprising that with a mild band calling itself the Shout Out Louds, there’s no shouting. Ever. There’s nary a raised voice or a roaring instrument on Optica. The Swedish quintet took a year and a half to record their fourth album (and second with the fashionable Merge Records). Perhaps the steady vocals are due to frontman Adam Olenius sounding like the Cure’s Robert Smith with a mild cold. Or, maybe Olenis wants to keep the focus on the often sad, sometimes biting lyrics of the dozen icy songs.
Virtually every gentle track of Optica is about a relationship going (or gone) sour. Olenis calmly starts the aptly-titled “Burn” with “morning comes / and there’s a light upon your shoulder / it’s too early to say what’s really on my mind / the sun hits your eyes / and your face looks so much older / than I can remember from last night.” Ouch. The staccato song falls roughly halfway through Optica. Although each track is long (the shortest, “Hermila,” clocks in at just over three and a half minutes), Optica avoids feeling same-y. The non-computer-generated strings, trombones, and woodwinds certainly help. The strummed guitars of the opener, “Sugar,” nicely blend into the keyboards of “Illusions.” A four-chord instrumental takes over the last couple minutes of the nearly seven-minute “Glasgow.” And the Police-esque “Where You Come In” kindly jumps in afterward. Optica ends with the flute-infused “Destroy.” Olenis bookends “I want my palette back” with “black is the only color I know” and “blue is the only color I know.” The contemplative song carries a lot of weight — even if it’s placid.
Shout Out Louds: shoutoutlouds.com