[17 June 2007]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
On the first single from their Merge debut Our Ill Wills, the Shout Out Louds leave behind the jangle of Howl Howl Gaff Gaff in favor of a more lush pop revivalism. Singer Adam Olenius could be Robert Smith on this track, pining over a love he wants now but knows he must leave behind. The track, with its synthesized strings and primer layer of percussion wrapping around a hard-strung acoustic is a tight composition, with a main riff and refrain that sticks in the head immediately. If the album cut sounds claustrophobic, it’s only in comparison to the single’s remix by Andreas Kleerup. There is so much space around Olenius’ vocals that when he sings, over and over, “Why won’t you give love?”, he sounds all the more jilted and alone. The non-album track “Don’t Get Yourself Involved” assures the listener that the Shout Out Louds are not interested in retreading past successes, turning in another solid track that uses a bit of jagged guitar in the background. But instead of rely on that sound, they use it as part of a deeper palate that is as overcast as it is poppy. Members of the Essex Green join the band to try the Pogues’ “Streams of Whiskey” and it is a faithful, solidly executed cover. It’s hard to believe these guys are as devoted to the sour mash as Mr. MacGowan was, but it’s nice to hear the band having some fun, celebrating the release of some solid new stuff.