Essential New Music: Shout Out Louds’ “Ease My Mind”

It’s easy to love Swedish bands like the Mary Onettes, Radio Dept. and Shout Out Louds. They have a knack for sweeping, resonant guitar pop that triggers memories of New Order, the Cure or Echo & The Bunnymen without sounding slavishly nostalgic or imitative. Ease My Mind, the fifth album from Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds, is the latest example: It’s got big, sing-along melodies (“Oh Oh”), chiming, propulsive love songs (“Paolo”) and beautiful counterpoint vocals between Adam Olenius and Bebban Stenborg (“Jumbo Jet”). Everything is polished with a reverb sheen until the closing “Souvenirs,” which begins with somber melody anchored in a few stark, minor-key chords before it too bursts into Technicolor when the keyboards join in about a third of the way through its nearly five minutes. Ease My Mind has some sharper edges and fewer lush arrangements than the last Shout Out Louds album, 2013’s equally excellent Optica, but the changes are slight. The Swedes are reliable that way.

Steve Klinge