I have often argued that Sweden’s The Sounds just might be the best band of my generation. The synth-heavy, hyper-danceable rockers are impressively well-versed in their understanding of the beauty of post-punk, but they’re also just as competent at producing the infectiously popular aesthetic of the best kind of new wave. They are delectably badass and the most badass brand of delectability… accompanied by the appropriate concentration of leather jackets and accessories. The band has been at it for about a decade and a half now, having released five albums that have them exploring everything from ’77 punk to ’90s electronica, but maintaining a cohesiveness of sugar-coated debauchery. They’ve also proven to be one of the most potent live forces in the world of music in my lifetime, with my own five live experiences of the band all making their way into my top 100 concerts of the 2,000 I’ve experienced.
The Sounds are currently on a US tour, supporting Weekend, their fifth studio effort, released last fall, and have an April 8th stop at our very own Union Transfer. I recently got a chance to chat with keyboardist, guitarist, and songwriter Jesper Anderberg, who admits that The Sounds’ biggest highlight of the past 15 years or so is simply their survival and success: “We’ve gotten so many opportunities to be on TV shows and play big arena concerts and big festivals, but for us to be able to still be here together, the same members from the start, has really been the highlight. Every day is awesome!”
The Sounds (and sounds) of Weekend have the band revisiting the particular brand of sassiness found on their first two LPs (2002’s Living in America and 2006’s Dying to Say This To You). When I ask Anderberg about the band’s most recent sonic output, he tells me, “Right now we’re a little bit back to our punk roots. When we were making this album we decided to just go into rehearsal space and see what happens. We didn’t want to overthink it.”
Although their upcoming date at Union Transfer next week will be the first time Philly has seen The Sounds in two and a half years, the band did play a few select dates around the album’s release and Anderberg tells me that their return to the state was quite invigorating.
“We did a small run of US dates when the album was released and coming back here was really refreshing. It had been a while. As a band, you’re always a different band in every country you go to. In the states, we built everything from the ground up. We didn’t have a label. We’re not some product being pushed. Here we’re more underground, whereas in Europe we’re a little bigger.”
The Sounds’ keyboardist also admits to me that there’s nothing they’re currently more excited about than this US tour.
“I think we rehearsed a lot and we know at least 40 of our 60 songs. Obviously there are a few songs that aren’t relevant anymore, but we’re going to be playing songs from all five albums and we like to change it up a bit. The other night we played a sold out place and it was just really sweaty and punk rock, and I think that’s where we belong. It was a packed room and sweaty as hell and everything went wrong, but I feel like that’s where we belong. It’s live music. Thing should go wrong, things can sound weird, anything can happen. And we’re musicians who know how to play and there’s nothing pre-recorded. Things can go wrong, but it’s not the end of the world and I really like that sweaty, close-to-the-audience feel.”