Swedish boys don't cry, but they sure do get choked up
Adam Olenius, frontman and primary songwriter of Sweden’s Shout Out Louds, sings with a lump in his throat the size of Robert Smith’s
, italicizing the ache in nostalgia-wracked songs like “Your Parents’ Living Room,” “Impossible” and “Normandie.” On the band’s Cure-obsessed third full-length, producer Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn & John) manhandles the already wounded songs with pummeling drums and percussion as well as tons of reverb, ensuring that the record never wallows in its own misery. Providing a strategically placed mid-album lift is keyboardist/singer Bebban Stenborg, whose character-rich, deftly understated lead vocals on her own “Blue Headlights” amounts to a star turn. Between them, Stenborg and Yttling ensure that Our Ill Wills
doesn’t sink under the weight of Olenius’ unremitting melancholy or monochromatic tonalities. The band would be best served by promoting Stenberg to co-lead so as to take full advantage of her enchanting voice and reassuring presence.