Pardon the punny Billboard-esque headline, but I couldn’t resist. It’s hard not to think of Robert Smith when listening to Shout Out Louds‘ great new album, Our Ill Wills. You could hear traces of it on the Stockholm quintet’s debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff,(the belated, slightly altered American release made my Best of 2005 list) mainly in singer Adam Olenius‘ vocals.
But for Our Ill Wills, they seem to be fully embracing their Cure love. And not the mopey goth Cure either. I’m talking the happy pop of the band’s classic 1985 album, Head on the Door. First single "Tonight I Have to Leave It" owes enough to "In Between Days" that it has to be on purpose, and it’s not a stretch to say "Normandie" resembles "Close to Me."
Maybe it is more correct to call them nods. Those are the two most obvious examples and neither, once they get going, really sound like The Cure, it’s more a general vibe. This could be the work of producer Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John), or it could just be what Shout Out Louds have been listening to in the four years since Howl Howl Gaff Gaff.
The album’s best song doesn’t sound like the Cure at all. A duet with keyboardist Bebban Stenbourg (sounding a lot like Victoria Bergsman), "Impossible" is a sweeping pop song and percussion that may do for the wood block what "Young Folks" did for bongos. It sounds like a great big hug, a song worthy of Lloyd Dobbler’s boombox.
Our Ill Wills is already out in Sweden, but America will have to wait until September when Merge (who smartly picked them up after being dropped by Capitol) will release it domestically. But "Impossible" is too much of a Summer Song to have to wait till then.