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The Sounds

Dying to Say This to You (New Line)

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The glut of Swedish bands a few years ago offered only a nibble of what the Sounds had to offer. Their sophomore effort shows the kind of growth that any band with only one record should exhibit after garnering features in nearly every major music publication. In the four years since that recording, they have continued to bubble over with '80s pop sensibility, and new tracks have featured piano balladry, straight-up rock, and a tsunami of new wave, without drowning in identity issues.

Maja Ivarsson's voice may be the signature of this five-piece -- it's definitely mixed to the fore -- but the metronomic rhythms and simple instrumentation pack a punch too. Heavy synth tracks such as "Don't Want to Hurt You" and the hot-to-trot "Tony the Beat" are dance-party accelerants, while some of the more saccharine moments ("24 Hours") would suit those ubiquitous tweeny Nickelodeon spots. From the opening "Song With a Mission," the Sounds' power-poppin' chords and attitude-laden lyrics demand attention, as fervent as the album title and fueled by a reckless, slightly more evolved enthusiasm.

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