When their debut dropped in 2002, it was all so timely. Alongside bands like The Strokes, The Vines, and countless others, there was a major upswing in the guitar/drums/bass/vocals dynamic of rock and roll that recalled the days of Iggy Pop and The Velvet Underground. The movement was thus labeled “garage rock revival”, a term that would stick for years to come.
Amid all this straightforward rock and roll, The Sounds brought something new to the table. Frontwoman Maja Ivarsson threw powerful female vocals and presence into the equation, making The Sounds a lovely addition to the movement.
Unfortunately, The Sounds, along with countless others included in this “garage rock revival”, have fallen by the wayside. Not all of the bands could emerge to be the festival-headlining, record-selling powerhouses that we see today. That was a position reserved for the greats: The Strokes, The (late) White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc..
The Sounds’ latest release is another attempt to gain entry into the world of success that eluded them when their contemporaries took off into permanent stardom. Something To Die For is unfortunately repetitive, and endlessly derivative of their previous work. It’s not so much a move forward as it is a reminder of what they’ve been doing since the turn of the millennium – vocal led synth/guitar rock with blatantly obvious sing-a-long choruses.
While there is obviously an element of deft musicianship and songwriting that can’t be ignored, it’s nothing special. It’s average to the scene of 2002, making it somewhat irrelevant in 2011. Ivarsson is the only saving grace to this otherwise drab record. Her vocals are especially poignant on “The Best of Me” and album closer “Wish You Were Here”, a lovely ballad that isn’t a Pink Floyd cover. Unfortunately, it’s about a decade too late.