No Cure for Swedish rockers Shout Out Louds
The Shout Out Louds' Ted Malmros says the American stereotype of Swedish rockers is pretty accurate.
"Pretty silent, serious - maybe the blond girl thing is a bit overrated, but the stereotype is pretty much right," said the Swedish band's bassist, calling from a tour stop in Chicago. "The only thing wrong is when they think we're Swiss. That's very different."
The stereotype that's being pushed on the band's new album "Our Ill Wills" (Merge), though, is a bit more off target, Malmros said. "I like The Cure," he said, with a laugh, "but I don't hear it in our music."
"It's the same genre, sure, but the drums are very different and Adam (Olenius, the band's singer) doesn't have a British accent," he continued. "It's OK. We really don't care. We do like The Cure. I think it just shows how so much of criticism - especially with the blogs - comes from people just reading each other."
What The Shout Out Louds would rather focus on is how "Our Ill Wills" sounds bigger and more ambitious than their straightforward, guitar-driven debut "Howl Howl Gaff Gaff" (Capitol). "The first album, we really didn't know much about recording at all, so we basically recorded what it sounded like in the rehearsal studio," Malmros said. "And we wanted to get that `debut album' vibe."
On "Our Ill Wills," the band wanted more, enlisting Bjorn Yttling, of another indie-rock Swedish sensation Peter, Bjorn and John, to produce the album in Stockholm. (The cooperation goes both ways, as Malmros directed the video for the band's breakout hit "Young Folks.")
"This time we wanted to try lots of new things and be a bit more experimental," Malmros said. "We're a band that enjoys changes. We didn't want to do the same album twice. We were going for something we had never done before."
The result is an album that moves from the pretty pop of "Suit Yourself" to the seven-minute-plus, guitar-distortion epic "Hard Rain" and back again. The first single "Tonight I Have to Leave It" is a swirl of giddiness - with playful percussion, joyous jangling guitars and a sense of innocence - but there's also the mournful "Meat Is Murder."
Even though the album has long been completed, the band - Malmros, singer Olenius, guitarist Carl von Arbin, keyboardist Bebban Stenborg and drummer Eric Edman - is still working on the songs. "We like to change the songs live," said Malmros, adding that the current American tour has gone well despite some problems with the tour bus. "In the studio, you get to keep adding, but on stage, you're limited to just five people so we have to focus on the five most important things. We end up discovering new things because of it."