Maja sings at Jesper in Philadelphia
The Sounds brought plenty of shake-shake-shake to the 9:30 Club Saturday.
In a very
nearly totally sold-out room, the Swedish quintet kicked off the night with “Emperor,” a song from their new album. If some in the audience didn’t know it that well, the band got their attention with better-known “Song with a Mission” from their popular second album, Dying to Say This to You, and kept the crowd jumping and squealing in delight for the rest of the night.
All members of The Sounds performed with a furious energy. Vocalist Maja Ivarsson was in good form, singing huskily through selections from all five of the band’s albums as she writhed, hopped and slinked across the floor. Ivarsson however did not perform too many of her trademark kicks Saturday. I caught The Sounds earlier in the week at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia, and Ivarsson was striking out with her legs in dramatic fashion as she pranced along the stage in heels with some disregard as to how much of her underwear she showed off. Still, Ivarsson stomped and vamped through the set — at one point during the end of the show, she even slid down on her belly to sing seductively into a microphone that had fallen on the ground.
The first time I saw The Sounds, they were promoting their second album, Dying to Say This to You, with a performance at the 9:30 Club. It was April 10, 2006, and the Swedish new wavers were there with Morningwood and Action Action.
It goes without saying that it was love at first listen—I was instantly hooked by the feminine but tough vocals of Maja Ivarsson and the rock star sensibilities of her bandmates. Guitarist Felix Rodriguez, bassist Johan Bengtsson, drummer Fredrik Blond and keyboardist Jesper Anderberg all are remarkable musicians—and instruments in The Sounds come together from a delightfully cohesive sound. They quickly became my favorite new band.
The Sounds release a new album, Weekend, on Tuesday, Oct. 29, and they leapt over to the United States to play some dates in support of their fifth LP. It’s an excellent mix of some of the raucous dance tunes for which the band is celebrated and some of the softer, reflective ballads that somehow still manage to surprise with their sincerity. Those who like The Sounds for their great dance numbers like “Tony the Beat” and “Dance with the Devil” will welcome the first single, “Shake Shake Shake” and the rebellious “Outlaw.” If “Night After Night” or “Dorchester Hotel” appeal to you, then you’ll likewise welcome the reflective “Hurt the Ones I Love” or the sweetness of “Weekend” (thematically a reflective and forward-looking companion and counterpart to the Pet Shop Boy’s more immediate “Thursday).
Felix, Johan, Maja, Jesper, Frederik