Shout Out Louds

The story of Sweden’s Shout Out Louds starts, like the stories of so many precocious bands, in an art school where singer Adam Olenius met guitarist Carl von Arbin. Adam taught Ted Malmros to play bass and the trio started gigging with an old drum machine. Eventually, as the trio honed their sound, they recruited an actual drummer and keyboardist.

Their American debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, functions like a mini-anthology of the band. It begins with the first song they ever wrote, “The Comeback” — a steady, Moog-highlighted slice of pop regret. The album ends with the recently-recorded “Seagull” — a song that finely displays the band’s broad musical imagination. It’s a stadium-sized folk song.

In between, the band delivers track after track of solidly enjoyable indie pop that pulls you up even when they’re singing about being down. “100 Degrees” is incessantly dance-y and sometimes sounds like a garage band covering the Cure’s “In Between Days.”

Shout Out Louds achieve the difficult task of making sad songs sound joyous. Their songs are a balance of bouncy, head-bobbing rhythms and worn-out, croaky vocals. There’s almost nothing immediately modern about the band—no overdriven guitars, no hyper, high-pitched vocals—but their sound is so informed and honest that it’s not retro at all, just right now.

[This piece appears in All the Rage]