Miles To Go Before They Sleep | Shout Out Louds

shoutoutloudsFROM THE PLAYBACK:stl ARCHIVE: “It’s just a beautiful country. Seeing the cowboy landscape was great,”





Shout Out Louds guitarist Carl von Arbin was in Berlin last month, lamenting on the bareness of the gray city streets and the work that still had to be done before he could get back home for Christmas. In Sweden, there would be snow. There would be packing snow and rich, rich foods to plump up on before getting back to the never-ending pile of work that needs to be done, with a slate of springtime festivals. He was on wobbly legs, a heavy weariness pulling his words down like an anchored light switch.

“It really feels like we’ve been everywhere but home. It’s been a dog year, as we say in Sweden. You have to struggle and put in a lot of work, but I feel like it’s been a great year,” he said. “I want to go home and call friends and see if they pick up the phone. I want to go home and feel like I’m home for a while. I want to have Swedish Christmas food. I just want to take a nice bath. I want to throw a snowball at somebody. There was snow just a week ago, but it all melted away.”

The Stockholm five-piece brought their exhaustion on themselves when they released their splendid debut record Howl Howl Gaff Gaff in late May. Though it’s gone conspicuously overlooked, the droopy, yet delighting melodramatics of the band’s limitless indie pop and lead singer Adam Olenius’ sneakily sad, sad, sad demeanor should have been the terminus for all scholastic discussions that had the sole purpose of delineating the best new pet band for all those with sunken hearts but high hopes. It’s certainly every bit as good, actually better than Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans or The New Pornographers’ Twin Cinema, two records of loosely similar grain that got paraded through the streets in 2005. It’s Olenius’ sensitive, near-weep sentiments that add the extra piece that claims you.

“I think, maybe, he’s not a sad guy, really,” von Arbin said of Olenius. “He’s an all right guy. He’s a good chap. I guess, it’s a little like a journal: To handle stuff, you write it down. The band’s always been about contrast. A more mellow lyric makes it interesting.”

Traveling the United States, seeing all of the cities in between New York and Los Angeles, was especially memorable for the band, which before this year had never stepped on a bus. Playing with Gang of Four, Bright Eyes, and Arcade Fire at Coachella (the cleanest festival they’d ever played) and the exploration of America were what defined and illuminated 2005 for the Shout Out Louds.

“It’s just a beautiful country. Seeing the cowboy landscape was great,” von Arbin said. “That, and traveling the entire Trans-Siberian railroad were always two things that I wanted to do before I died.”

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