No One Sleeps When They’re Awake – A review of The Sounds career so far…


In my opinion, this band should need no introducing. However, for some crazy reason beyond me, a lot of music fans in the UK have actually never heard of them. Some people may recognise the name of the band, or solely recognise some of their songs which have been featured in tv programmes such as Vampire Diaries and CSI Miami; however, for those of you that simply do not have a clue, let me illuminate for you.

The Sounds are a Swedish band that first came together in 1998 and officially formed in 1999, so already you can see that they’ve been about for a fair few years. Their music mainly centres around indie-rock with a touch of electro every now and then, and they are often compared to bands such as Blondie and Missing Persons. Although some may consider this a huge compliment, which it is, I personally think that this band is in a class of their own. The band consists of Maja Ivarsson on lead vocals, Félix Rodríguez on guitar, Johan Bengtsson on bass, Jesper Anderberg on piano, keyboard and guitar, and Fredrik Blond on drums.

The Sounds have released four albums in total, the debut titled ‘Living in America’ in 2002, followed by ‘Dying To Say This To You’ in 2006, ‘Crossing The Rubicon’ in 2009 and finally ‘Something To Die For’ in 2011. After the success of the first album, recorded in Sweden, it really is no wonder that they took the rest of Europe and The U.S by storm, recording their second album a few years later, in California. And over the years, they have built up an amazing fan base, including many artists, celebrities and musicians themselves, such as Dave Grohl, Mando Diao and Bam Margera amongst many.

It really is such a shame that The Sounds aren’t better known in the UK as this leads to them rarely performing any gigs here and so the chance to see them in this country is slim. Mind you, when I did see in late 2011 that they had tickets on sale for February 2012, I whipped my credit card out so fast, I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplash. The band announced that they would be doing a gig in Glasgow, and also one in London during the tour of their latest album. I bloody love London anyway, so any excuse to go there, and I’d be straight on that train down south. Of course, this was the perfect excuse to go; especially considering I was going to see The Black Keys the night before, why not make a whole weekend of it (it was also my birthday) so happy birthday to me all round!

The gig was held at the Kings College student union bar, which in itself, is a great venue. The support act that the band had brought with them was The Limousines, who seemed to compliment The Sounds more electro side, and indeed geared everyone up for their latest album which was a lot more electronic based than their previous albums. The sounds opened their set with some songs from their latest album Something To Die For, including Dance With The Devil, The No No Song and Better Off Dead. They then mixed it up a bit for the second half of the set, performing some of their earlier material such as Night After Night, Painted By Numbers and No One Sleeps When I’m Awake. They ended the gig with an encore of Tony The Beat and Hope You’re Happy Now. Maja’s stage performance is incredible to say the least. She is ridiculously energetic and fun; hauling randomers up on stage to dance around and at some points, lighting up and smoking a cigarette as she sang; either oblivious or uncaring of the public smoking ban in the UK. Who gives a crap about laws when you’re an international icon?

The band has always received brilliant if not at times, eccentric reviews of their singles or albums, with a review from NME once quoting single, Painted By Numbers as ‘exactly the type of tune you’d imagine Stevie Nicks putting on the car stereo as she snorted a fat line of coke off the steering wheel of her 1984 Cadillac.’ Couldn’t have put it better myself. . .

Since their debut of Living in America was released, the band have toured with the likes of (equally as amazing) Swedish band Mando Diao, No Doubt, Paramore (well, everybody has their regrets), Foo Fighters and The Strokes. Now there’s a touring record worth noting down. Not long back, band member Jesper Anderberg tweeted that the band may be starting on their fifth studio album. Shortly after, this was officially confirmed and has now been announced as finally completed. A teaser song from this album has been released on the official website of the band, and I imagine fans like myself are eagerly awaiting the next tour dates. The album is yet to be named, but I imagine that they will probably name it after me. It’ll be a tragedy if they don’t.

So, if this long-winded tale hasn’t had you running to the nearest HMV (that hasn’t closed down) or got you clicking straight onto iTunes just yet, then hold fast, as these next few songs are bound to. Consider this little list a run through of my top songs by The Sounds.

10. The No No Song – taken from 2011 album ‘Something To Die For’. This song is a perfect warm up to the band, and if you’re feeling a little pissed off with someone, then stomp along to this song, and if you happen to glance at your mardy singing face in the mirror, you’ll be laughing in no time.

9. Tony The Beat – taken from 2006 album Dying To Say This To You. Gearing up for a hot night in? Get your ears around this tune then.

8. Like A Lady – taken from 2002 album Living In America. This song will inspire any girl to take to the town and paint it red. Rock and roll style.

7. Fire – taken from 2002 album Living In America. Another angry stomper for you, with a little bit of ego and a catchy tune thrown in.

6. Something To Die For – taken from 2011 album Something To Die For. Stick with the slightly slow introduction, because when the song kicks in, you’ll find it to be a nice little inspirational tune for times when, well I don’t know, for any time you need a little kick up the arse.

5. No One Sleeps When I’m Awake – taken from 2009 album Crossing The Rubicon. If you’re feeling a bit self-indulgent and melancholic, stick this song on and give your self-pity a bit of bite.

4. Rock ‘N’ Roll – taken from 2002 album Living In America. There is nothing not to like about this catchy little number. Get your gladrags on, and get trawling those smoky little back street bars in search of some fun.

3. Living In America – from the 2002 album Living In America. The ultimate party song from this album. Mojo20 DJ’s have played this many a time on a night out, and by the second chorus, everyone is singing along regardless of whether they know the song or not. It’s poppy, catchy and a little bit grimy. Enjoy.

2. 4 Songs And A Fight – from the 2009 album Crossing The Rubicon. If you often find yourself strutting around the town, acting like you own the place, then why you don’t you get stuck into this song. You will especially enjoy the line ‘don’t spread your disease when you come to my town’.

1. Painted By Numbers – from the 2006 album Dying To Say This To You. This is one of the best songs by The Sounds. The song kicks in immediately, it’s got a good beat behind it, and Maja’s got her angry voice on, so far so good, and then bam, (No. Not Bam Margera) the chorus kicks in, and you’re lost to The Sounds forever. You. Are. Welcome.

So sit up, listen and take note Britain, and maybe they might just visit us a little more often, yeah?

Words by Elisha Capindale (@elisha_ELC)


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