, the third album by Shout Out Louds, is not the cinematic mood piece that their sophomore album Our Ill Wills
was. The band's previous release was a fragile love letter wrapped in melancholy, produced by Peter Bjorn and John's Bjrn Yttling. Work
, though, is more of a thumping, brighter collage of post-rock clang and piano backed choruses.
As the title suggests, Work
is simpler and a little more concise, too. The dark and melancholic mood is still there, lead singer Adam Olenius is still just as overcast and haunted, but there are rays of sunshine here and there that hint a return to the sound Shout Out Louds began their careers with on Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
. Much of the album's brightness comes from the Smiths-style guitar work Carl von Arbin has perfected over their last two albums.
"Walls" is probably the most rabble-rousing track on the album. It's piano line drives the chorus' anthemic lyrics and the song bursts to life around an explosive gang chant that instantly brings back found memories of previous Shout Out Louds tracks like "The Comeback" or "Tonight I Have To Leave It". Other standouts though would be tracks like "Fall Hard" with it's smokey synth horn lines, and the odd Blink-182 sounding "Show Me Something New" that seques into something very consciously Cure-like.
The parallels to The Cure and The Smiths are always present but never naggingly so. Instead, the guitar and bass are applied in a different way that doesn't ever sound like a rehash. Plus the smooth production takes it in a much different direction, cleaning it up into something original.
Shout Out Louds' only real misstep on Work
is a general feeling of blandness that they've been able to avoid this far in their career. There really isn't a track that stays in your memory and for all the group's energy the hooks just aren't there this time around, at least vocally. Where in the past the replay value was Olenius' lyrics and vocal melody, he seems to be taking a backseat on Work
. Perhaps he's just not as upset as he used to be, or maybe the band wanted to showcase their strentgh as a group, either way there seems to be some infectiousness lost along the way.
For a third release, tough, Work
isn't terrible, but it feels as though Shout Out Louds are having a tough time sorting out how to mature and still retain their bite. They're in the right ballpark, but perhaps a little less gloss next time. Without all the polish it might not sound like they're just going through the motions. -Ryan Broderick
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MP3:"Show Me Something New" - Work
Shout Out Louds on Myspace