When you wake up singing the hook of a song, ìCímon, címon, címon and dance with meÖî from the band you saw the night before, itís usually a good indication the show was one to remember. Wednesday we trekked up the BW Parkway to Baltimore to find out what Swedenís latest import, The Sounds, was all about. The last time I was at Fletcherís was to catch last yearís Swedish buzz band, Sahara Hotnights, who didnít disappoint, but last night, The Sounds may have done their fellow Swedes one better.
The Sounds vocalist, Maja Ivarsson, a Scandinavian version of American actress Jaime Pressly with several layers of mascara, stood on the top of the stairs stage right, toes tapping, as the four guys with instruments on stage just began to play. Maja ran out on stage and things started to appear a little rehearsed, but the energy and raw emotion coming from the pores of Ms. Ivarsson were unabashedly genuine. Itís rare to see a band so determined to win a crowd over, but having a killer sound crew along for the road helped. Possessing an assortment of Swedish au pairs right up front cheering helped as well, but the band seemed all about converting the entire mass into fans. When the quintet launched into their single ìSeven Days A Week,î the au pairs, one waving a Swedish flag, as well as most of the crowd, pogoed and sang along to the synthed up beat. The show stopper came soon thereafter when Maja announced ìwe only play hit music,î and went right into the albumís title track ìLiving in Americaî, which almost made me want to defect to the land of IKEA right there on the spot. The sonígs infectious hooks nearly sent local legend Dancing Larry into a self-induced seizure as he gyrated out of control before running headfirst into a pole.
The Sounds have been accused of copping the music of new wave bands of the past, but seeing them live, they most strongly resemble a ripped jeans, dirtied up version of the late Welsh band, Catatonia, who also had a foxy blonde front woman in Cerys Matthews. Where Cerys was elegant, Maja is in your face, showing off punked up dance moves and a collection of American swear words sheís picked up here in the States. With a set just eclipsing 45 minutes, including encore, The Sounds left us right where they wanted, satisfied, but wanting more, proving once again Swedes know how to bring the rock. The Sounds tour goes through the lower 48 up until the day before Thanksgiving, not a Swedish holiday, in case you were wondering.