Feeding the Creative Brain | The Sounds

A lot of us have experineced the dark side of love.



Beautiful people, it’s assumed by the consensus of we Americans, grow on trees in Sweden or, taking a slightly more industrial approach, are churned out in bulk in an assembly-line process that makes perfect cheekbones and ripping hot bodies gloriously generic. Most of these pretty people are no different than you and me—well, unless we want to keep tripping over the minor detail of their superior beauty and our deficiency in that area. They’re hairdressers, or short order cooks, or slackers, or secretaries, or dreamers, or nothings, who go on and on about that hilarious speech Dwight gave on The Office the other night, just like we do. We are one with the goddamn gorgeous Swedes in a slightly less imperfect world, where physical attributes are as worthless as fool’s gold. Pretty people attract important people, we’ve learned, through no effort or persuasion. It happens without courting, and those are the facts, Jack.
The Sounds, all Swedish and all fucking beautiful in their own peculiar ways—though frontwoman Maja Ivarsson sure avoided the ugly tree in an obviously effortless way—have found that they’re not immune to this sociological phenomenon of power and importance drawing itself ever closer to the rose. They’ve got Foo Fighter and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who famously wore one of their band T-shirts (that the band made him pay for) in the video for the Foos’ “Times Like These”—you know, the one where all those TVs and houses are getting thrown off a bridge but the Sounds shirt remained calm. That right, there’s an endorsement that all of the shameful MySpace plugging and name-dropping in the world’s not going to pull off. The Arctic Monkeys would have been so lucky. Alright, so they’re lucky enough. But Grohl found the sounds of the Sounds to his liking, and then so did Quentin Tarantino and K-Fed’s baby mama Britney Spears and Pharrell Williams. It got out of hand. Then they went and put two nipply babes on the cover of their new record, Dying to Say This to You, and it made it harder to dispel the notion that this pretty/celebrity situation holds water.
The band’s keyboardist, Jesper Anderberg, caught on the phone recently from freezing Norway, recognizes that the young group’s got a lot of hipster notches in their belts—but why stop there? And, at the same time, who gives a hoot?
“I wouldn’t mind Neil Young or Elton John liking us,” he said. “Usually these things are record label things. They think that if someone famous likes a band, than other people will start liking that band. I guess that might be true, but you have a different culture with celebrities in your country than we do over here. We have our royal family over here, which nobody cares about. I wouldn’t start listening to Neil Young just because Elton John liked him. But that’s how I work. I think with Dave Grohl, he’s just like us. He’s always interested in new music. I guess that’s the way we work, as well.”
There’s just as much cause for riling up the VIPs on the band’s sophomore record as there was on 2004’s Living in America. The merry synthesizers and road-traveling bass lines come at you scooped on top of one another to make a lush blend of now and then, with the aforementioned “then” corresponding with those 1980s years that keeping hanging onto their last breaths of life through our current tight-jean-wearing young pups. “Tony the Beat” and “24 Hours,” if they’re working properly, have the potential to whitewash right over all of those old Reagan-rule memories. They could retrospectively change history. They’re the two tracks that might bring Neil Young—who has a tender heart for catchy pop hooks, as he showed years ago when he signed Tegan & Sara—onto the bandwagon. And just like the offerings by those twin Canadian darlings, Dying to Say This to You is catchiness borne of failed relationships and heartache. It’s a departure for the Sounds that was spurred by a touring schedule that trampled over some dear relationships and challenged the healthiness of many others for the better part of two years. Even if you’re adored by American celebrities, a broken heart still feels like a rattlesnake biting and locking down hard.
“There are more pure love songs on this record. I think we have more subjects on this record, but they’re all about love,” said Anderberg, who took up playing bad golf to rid his mind of band stress. “A lot of us have experienced the dark side of love. It doesn’t have to be relationships with girls or boys; it’s friendships, too. We all had different takes on the damage. Our lives definitely changed when we went away. You think it stays the same when you leave, but it doesn’t. I know it’s been a change for me. You have to use all the shit that happens around you to continue. It’s good food for the creative brain.”

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