The Sounds @ Oran Mor 22-11-09

December 18, 2009

Oran Mor, Glasgow, November 22 * *

Swedish electro pop-rockers The Sounds have never hidden their passion for the States; after all they did name their debut album Living in America, but on the evidence of tonight’s performance that passion has become something of an obsession.
The combination of the kind of highly-polished, homogenized music favoured by both American producers, and more importantly American consumers, and singer Maja Ivarsson’s constant clichéd displays of showmanship made much of the Swedes’ set feel forced, at times cartoon-ish and ultimately disposable.
You couldn’t fault the band’s energy levels while Ivarsson’s delivery – part Debbie Harry, Madonna and Pink in style – at least ensured the crowd was vociferously on her side. It even occasionally managed to divert attention from what were by and large generic, middle-of-the-road songs.
The few tracks that did stand out, did so primarily for the wrong reasons. Insipid ballad Midnight Sun proved truly cringe-worthy, especially when without a hint of irony Ivarsson asked the crowd to raise their lighters in the air, while fellow Scandinavians Aqua sprang to mind during Hurt You.
However it didn’t matter to a crowd only too eager to indulge Ivarsson’s requests for more adulation. She worked them into a near frenzy on Painted By Numbers, the one song that managed to distinguish itself in an otherwise unremarkable set.


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