Our Ill Wills

Release Date: 09.11.07

In 2005 an album came out that was so catchy I couldn't get it out of my head. In the two years since I've always come back to it, amazed that I can still find the level of enjoyment out of it that I do. It's been there with me as I've traveled, as a soundtrack to passing landscapes, it's convinced every person I've given it to, and it's given me hope in the future of music as I can feel comfortable in the fact that Shout Out Louds are out there making music. It's been a long two years since Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, but now, in the late summer of '07 we'll finally get the follow-up.

Our Ill Wills is filled with more of the same Swedish joy from the debut. Melancholy happiness, if there is such a thing, cascades across the album as I find myself being drawn in much the same way as two years ago. There are subtle differences thrown in here and there on this one, slight percussive tweaks that lift this one up immediately. This might be attributed to the production team this time around. Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn & John) has taken over producer duties and even brought in the help of fellow band mate John Eriksson to help out. The effects are immediately identifiable with the first track "Tonight I Have To Leave It," opening with a rolling thunder and what sounds like glass jars being hit to one hell of a catchy melody. It's an upbeat bright track, and Adam Olenius' soft, almost whimpering vocals make it extremely difficult to not compare a lot of this album to the lighter side of The Cure. Other tracks, "Impossible," "Normandie" and my personal favorite "South America" all showcase the same Shout Out Louds from their previous effort, detailing insecurities and fears of everything from love to the future over bouncingly happy new wave beats and strings.

There are much more soft, slow songs on Our Ill Wills as well. "Blue Headlights" could be the softest track in the Shout Out Louds' catalog, sung by keyboardist Bebban Stenborg. "Meat Is Murder" sounds like the wind blowing through wind chimes as Olenius softly sings with just his guitar, and the title track is the first instrumental offering I've heard from these Swedes. It sounds a bit like a soft pop Sigur Ros, and is just aching for Olenius' voice to come in.

In the end, Our Ill Wills is just as catchy as Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, and with the added help from Bjorn's name attached maybe Shout Out Louds will get a little bit more attention this time around. If not, it won't be that big of a deal, as long as I know they're going to come back with another album that dives right into my pleasure sensors. Another two years? Well at least I've got Our Ill Wills to keep me placated.

Shout Out Louds

Our Ill Wills