Okay, so you thought that Shout Out Louds couldn’t get any cooler: they’re Swedish, they’ve been making records that make your body move for more than ten years now, they’re Swedish… the list goes on. But then, this band decides to put a new single out, but also on a record made out of ice, which is also really cool (pun intended). Coolness aside, this band is back with their fourth studio release, and after 2010’s Work, they have a lot follow up.
For longtime fans of Shout Out Louds, or really to anyone looking for dance-ready jams laden with endless guitar hooks, Optica will not disappoint. From the beginning, there is this anticipation that comes from the second you hit play on “Sugar,” and some extra fuzzy guitar floods your speakers. For a first track, it doesn’t really overwhelm, but it gives you a taste of what’s yet to come; it’s a nice little introductory track before Adam Olenius and company really hit their stride. The second song, and a previously released single “Illusions,” kicks things up to the next level, with its highly percussive and prominent drums adding some texture to the background, while the guitars cut through with the chief riff. Also cutting through the static and robotic base elements are some delicate female vocals that utter the songs tagline, and then harmonize with Olenius that might just make you stop your dancing to laud the band for creating something so filled with substance.
But this is just the second track of twelve! The band continues grooving onward, but changes up the pace on “Blue Ice,” the number they released via ice record for a contest. It’s a track reminiscent of their last album in the way that it feels a bit softer; there’s less angled guitars, Olenius’ vocals are mumbled instead of belted, etc. This variation works well for the band, and the album’s pacing—Shout Out Louds don’t get too hot too fast and they make you wait until the fourth song until they really bust out their killer track: “14th of July.” Multiple hooks and a catchy chorus will have you singing along in no time and I can see this track making its way onto many party mixes and year end lists.
Really, I could go track by track on Optica, enumerating praise for this band because fast, slow, upbeat, downbeat: they know what they’re doing. See for yourself and go buy this record. Now.