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They’ve blasted past the decade mark, released three acclaimed albums, and indisputably owned more than a thousand shows in over 25 countries. By now, people know: When it comes to sassy, confident, feel-good rock ’n’ roll Sweden’s The Sounds are the gold standard. Even as they’ve evolved markedly since their 2002 breakthrough debut, Living In America, the Malmö-based quintet has remained true to their New Wave soul, delivering that perfect mix of sass and smarts, old and new, electric and electronic every time. Even through label shakeups and grueling tour schedules, The Sounds have been remarkably reliable, but when it came time to make their fourth album, Something To Die For, they realized it was time for a major change.
“We’ve grown so much together and we know exactly what we want,” says Felix Rodriguez, the group’s resident rock star, guitarist, and one of the main songwriters. “So why hire other people? This is the first time we’ve produced an album ourselves and it was an amazing experience. We are the ones that know each other best.” Not only did the band produce the album themselves, but they wrote and recorded it in their very own studio over much of 2010.
“It took discipline,” says Maja Ivarsson, the towheaded vocal vamp of the band, “but the sound we got was exactly what we’d been looking for, and never found, at other studios. Something kinda harsh and a little cold – it’s hard to put into words, but here we were, in our own place, listening back to what we’d recorded, and we’re like, ‘This is it!’” From opener “It’s So Easy,” the difference is palpable. With four on the floor, the band bangs out a pulsing track that goes from ominous to blindingly bright as it approaches the transcendent “Dance With The Devil.” Here, Maja promises to “conquer our planet with dance,” and with anthemic, electro-fueled tracks like “Better Off Dead” and “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” The Sounds may do just that.