Swedish indie-pop band Shout Out Louds last released a full-length record back in 2013 with Optica. With time away from the studio and lead singer Adam Olenius releasing his solo debut LP, the band regrouped to work on new material. Abandoning the synth-heavy focus found on Optica, the quartet seeks out different avenues on their fifth studio album, Ease My Mind. The indie outfit has delivered graceful and jubilant records over the course of their career. This dates back to their charismatic 2005 US debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff.
The members include Olenius, Ted Malmros, Carl von Arbin, and Bebban Stenbord. Drummer Eric Edman had since left the band after Optica. “Ease My Mind celebrates music as a means of escape, a need to take a break from feeling petrified with fear,” Adam and Bebban write. The band explores lively sounds that cross between nostalgia and personal renewal. Shout Out Louds embrace a sunny vibe on this latest achievement, but also offering some of their most significant storytelling to date.
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As one absorbs the 11-track, 47-minute serotinal effort, they will be fully engaged with their time here. Shout Out Louds, a band that continues to evolve and discover themselves, do such while crafting fresh ways to present their music. Their own reflections are entrenched within these new tracks, some shining brighter than others. However, when they are at their finest, there’s no comparison. Olenius’ voice provides tranquility, but he can display some elevated excitement to it as well. It’s a good balance as you tune in from beginning to end.
‘Jumbo Jet,’ a reflective cut, sends the listener off to a distant place beyond where their mind currently resides. The warm track is sharply executed with the pivotal lyrics, This is just the beginning/And this is just a start, that reveals the band’s renewed approach as they glance onward. ‘Oh Oh’ journeys through a celestial pathway that is inspiring for the listener. The lyrics, Don’t say that it’s over/cos nothing ever is, may have one pondering their own surroundings, however, the melodic flow won’t drag you down.
‘Throw Some Light’ is a peaceful piece. Don’t recognize the man in the mirror/thinking what is true/somebody throw some light/somebody throw some light on me could be applicable for the listener as they anticipate their next decision. The composition is rejuvenating and soothing with its gentle arrangement that feels quite reassuring. Shout Out Louds appear wiser, but more so, a sense of being comfortable with who they are today.
The finale, ‘Souvenirs,’ is the most memorable track on the record. There is wistfulness to it, a longing for something greater than within one’s immediate reach. The song gleams, abandoning lyrics for the final minute and twenty seconds and lets the dreamy structure carry you off. It’s a dazzling conclusion that leaves you with various emotions running rampant. Ease My Mind is aptly titled because that’s exactly what you’ll come away with after listening to it. Shout Out Louds have developed and expanded their musical muscle without sacrificing any originality, creativity, and radiance.
Ease My Mind is out on September 22nd via Merge Records.