The Sounds - Dying To Say This To You
Having built up a sizable following in the United States, Swedish popstrels the Sounds attracted the attention of producer Jeff Saltzman, the man behind the desk for the Killers' debut Hot Fuss, and between them they've conjured up an LP that captures some of the magic that characterised the Las Vegas foursome before they disappeared up a dusty backroad marked Humdrum. The brilliant, spunky pop of Ego, propelled by scattershot drums, bouncy synths and an anthemic singalong chorus, is a prime example of the celebrated formula that brought us Mr Brightside and Smile Like You Mean It in action, and the bombastic Painted By Numbers is another winner. Sadly, by the time closer Running Out of Turbo comes around, hearing the same recycled ideas churned out for the umpteenth time proves a tiresome proposition.
There's certainly fun to be had along the way though, with Hurt You's stop-start Human League-esque beats impressing, and Queen of Apology's icy new wave adding some weight to the Blondie comparisons the fivesome have managed to attract. The inevitable ballad Night After Night is surprisingly strong, with its overwrought sentiment disguised by understated keys and vocalist Maja Ivarsson's subtle delivery.
Club hit Tony the Beat is another obvious highlight, its sleazy synths and, shall we say, upfront lyrics giving it a real edge. Rex the Dog's inspired reworking of the track is handily packaged among the generous selection of bonus songs included on the CD, and in terms of value for money it's a ten out of ten. Unfortunately, the sameyness of the Sounds' material - enjoyable as many of the tracks are in their own right - is found out across the span of a 35-minute album, and the patchy material makes it impossible to recommend Dying To Say This To You whole-heartedly.