Rating: NNNN

There’s a lot of A-Ha on the latest from Stockholm indie pop ensemble Shout Out Louds, and that’s not a bad thing.

Though the individual songs are offset by varying arrangements (a simple piano march, Fair Isle folksy acoustic guitar, syncopated kick-drum beats that almost inspire dancing and frequently the restrained strings of the SOLs’ chamber ensemble), nearly all the tracks here tumble gently through swooning, creamy-centred melodies that repeatedly evoke the plaintive urgency of Take On Me.

The big difference here, though, is that unlike the Norwegian new wavers, the SOLs are skilled at crafting songs rooted in striking specificity. They’re in a league with Stuart Murdoch or Jens Lekman, describing beautiful losers drinking in a basement on Halloween or embarking on imaginary flights to the beaches of Normandy with the precision of cinematic auteurs.



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