Your Ad Here

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Track-by-Track: The Sounds - Crossing The Rubicon

In lieu of a traditional post, I'm going to focus on an album today. I was lucky enough to hear a preview of the Sounds' new album (out June 2nd) and wanted to share my thoughts with you:

I'll preface this review by saying that I'm a huge Sounds fan. I've followed them since their first album, seen them live in Sweden, and will see them again this summer. That being said, their newest album, Crossing The Rubicon, is probably the weakest of the three that they've released. I had a feeling after hearing the single that they were going for a more radio-rock route, downplaying the straight-up synth-pop of their last album. I think they've spent far too much time in America.
But, before you assume that this is a negative review, the Sounds are still the Sounds... probably the best female-fronted band since No Doubt. There are a couple of very strong standouts and fans of the band's synth/dance sound will not be totally disappointed. Too often, though, they wind up sounding like a different band (a much more "serious" band), when I wish they'd just embrace the energy and hooks that made them so fun on their first two albums. When they do find the perfect marriage between hooks and

1. No One Sleeps When I'm Awake - Kicking off the album is the first single. I've been sort of underwhelmed with this as a single. It just doesn't have that spark that I'm used to with the band. Great title, though, and the chorus has certainly grown on me. Overall it represents a shift to a more mainstream (Americanized?) rock sound for them. 7/10

2. 4 Songs & A Fight - This sounds more like classic Sounds from their first album. The guitars are more prominent than the synths, but the melody's straightforward and catchy. I especially like the end bit, where the electronic influences (or is that a guitar?) really kick in. 8/10

3. My Lover - Opening with a synth arpeggio that quickly morphs into a disco beat, this is the song that most Sounds fans will consider the official start of the album. This is far more pop/dance than the preceding tracks. The staccato verses are spectacular. Lots of electronic squiggles on this one, and one sick beat that becomes quite symphonic towards the end. This should be the next single. 9/10

4. Dorchester Hotel - Back to the rockier sound, this track is uptempo but the melody reminds me more of a ballad. It's good (the verses moreso than the chorus), but could be a dozen other bands. Definitely a bit different than previous Sounds songs. I could imagine a band like Paramore recording this. 6/10

5. Beatbox - Another full-on dance track, this is definitely the Tony The Beat of the album. The verses are more of a chant/rap than singing, but they're effective. The chorus is also very catchy... possibly single-worthy. 8/10

6. Underground - Opens with a strong, stomping beat that's very new wave. The melody is a bit strange, with some very high-pitched singing on the hook. It's easily the most experimental-sounding track so far. Electronics and guitars are balanced pretty equally. It reminds me of something the Tough Alliance would come up with. On first listen I really like it. 9/10

7. Crossing The Rubicon - A big, weird spacey ballad of an interlude. This sounds like nothing the band have ever recorded... very experimental. Plenty of people will hate it. It doesn't really matter, as it's only about a minute long. ?/10

8. Midnight Sun - Breezy, midtempo 80's pop song. Pretty heavy electronics on this one, with strong, well-sung verses. The chorus is a bit of a let-down (for me, at least). Actually, the chorus sounds a lot like the opening track. Overall, pretty forgettable, if pleasant. 7/10

9. Lost In Love - Another synth-based pop/dance track. Sonically, it sounds great. Melodically, it doesn't have much of a hook. Maybe it's a grower? 6/10

10. The Only Ones - Begins as a piano ballad and grows more dramatic as it continues on. Ballads have never been the band's strong suit (in fact, I'd get rid of them altogether), and this is not really any different. It's fine, but not very exciting. 5/10

11. Home Is Where Your Heart Is - Now this is more like it! The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but we're back to strong-melody-territory. This is a midtempo, electronic pop/rock song with an uplifting message. The "uplifting message" part is where the cheesiness comes in, but the anthematic hook compensates nicely. Definitely the strongest track since the interlude. 8/10

12. Goodnight Freddy - This is just an atmospheric, electronic instrumental. I think it's probably a hidden or bonus track on the album. Like the interlude, I don't really have much to say about this one. ?/10

Best Tracks: My Lover, Underground

Album Grade: 7.3/10


Anonymous Anonymous said...

rock n roll från their first album is sort of a ballad and it's AMAZING.

otherwise, nice review i'spose.

3:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home