BY GIL MACIAS
The last album by The Sounds was a little bit all over the place, ranging from upbeat, throbbing, electronic dance numbers, to pop-rock, and even an acoustic ballad. It was a little disjointed and felt like an album where the band had a lot of ideas but didn’t really know which direction to head into (more on that below). Overall, it was a satisfactory effort, but definitely not their finest work. With Weekend, the band comes full circle and revisits their roots, taking best elements from their first 3 albums and injecting a newfound energy, and a ‘60s style rock element that brings their sound to new heights.
The Sounds aren’t young adults anymore. This time, it’s almost as if the band is sitting back and both enjoying what they do and reflecting on life. “Great Day” is a perfect example of this, and it’s hands down the best strongest track on the entire album. It’s a breezy, pop-rock number driven by beautiful acoustic guitar with a slight southern twang, storytelling style lyrics, and heartfelt vocals by Maja Ivarsson. During its catchy, uplifting chorus, Ivarsson sings, “It’s a great day to be alive,” with heart, confidence and ease. You’ll feel like you’re having a great day right along with her. “Young and Wild” is another reflective, feel-good anthem that recaptures the youth and innocence and their early days. “Put your hands up in the air/Listen we are, we are/Young and wild,” is the insanely catchy chorus you’ll find stuck in your head all day. It’s one of those tracks that will suck your sorrows away and make you hit the “repeat” button. These could easily be the two best songs of the band’s entire catalogue so far.
Longtime fans will be pleased to hear songs like “Shake Shake Shake,” “Take It The Wrong Way,” “Emperor,” “Outlaw,” and “Too Young to Die” all evoke the signature indie-rock sounds of Living in America, which is never a bad thing. “Panic,” is the standout, synth-driven, dance-rock track and “Animal” is a straight up clap along, attitude-filled rock number. But amidst all the upbeat indie rock, you get the chill out acoustic title track “Weekend” where Ivarsson further proves she can carry a strong ballad even though it has the tritest lyrics of the batch. Really, there’s nothing bad to say about this album. There’s no over-thinking or experimentation here. It’s far more polished than Something to Die For and thanks to strong acoustic guitars driving nearly every track, everything sounds uniform. It’s a blend of their two best efforts, Living in America and Crossing the Rubicon, complete with the maturity of a band that is clearly aging like wine. These aren’t the early twenty-something young adults we knew from the Living in America era. Weekend may be a more stripped down, back to the basics effort, but it is definitely the most mature album the band has ever put out. They’re all in their early thirties now. All five members seem to be comfortable and content with what they’re doing. They do it well, and it especially shows in their songwriting. Weekend marks a promising and strong start to the second decade of their recording career.
DOWNLOAD: “Great Day,” “Young and Wild,” “Outlaw,” “Emperor,” “Animal,” “Panic”