The Swedish four piece trip daintily on stage, accompanied by a hurdy gurdy soundtrack that conjures up images of accordion-playing moustachioed fellows and Heidi running through lush meadows. Happily, keyboardist Bebban dispels this unsettling feeling of general European healthiness. Purveying a sense of downright sexual dirtiness, and decked out in a white flowered number that looks like her grandmother’s nightdress, blonde Bebban clamps a mouth organ to her lips and the gig begins in earnest.

‘Oh, Sweetheart’ is a bouncy knee-jerking assault that gets your pint appreciatively sloshing over your soddened knuckles and pulls the excitable young crowd ever closer, before slowing into the drama of the plaintive ever-repeated drawl of a chorus ‘oh sweetheart…’ Entrenched in resplendent Moog sounds, newbie single ‘The Comeback’ is a set highlight. “I’m kind of tired ‘cos you wouldn’t let me sleep last night” complains Adam, while the guitars chug on in time to Amstrad sounds beeping out from Bebban’s corner of the stage. “I’m about to crack so lets call this the comeback” Adam asserts – in-between apologising for the lack of guitar fuzz power in tonight’s performance, what with guitarist Carl being absent due to his brother’s marriage in Stockholm. Very rock n roll.

Shout Out Louds have been making sweet noise in Sweden for some time, and they throw into the set a Scandinavian release b-side ‘Wish I was dead’ from 7”release ‘Very Loud’. More electronic than the majority of their debut album Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, ‘Wish I was dead’ is stuffed with sequencer action not dissimilar to indie-dancers Clor’s ‘Dangerzone’; but shot through with a terrible melancholy that Robert Smith would adore.

Unfortunately for Shout Out Louds, the Cockpit’s sound quality tonight is – unusually – utterly abysmal. Despite the band’s best efforts, with bassist Ted straining beyond belief to make his backing vocals heard, their sound is so muffled a solid wall of silence creates a barrier between the band and the first few rows. It’s akin to listening to a duff copy of Howl Howl Gaff Gaff through a brown paper bag that tantalisingly drifts ever further away down the street.

Shout out Louds are derivative and do not particularly break any new musical boundaries. They are not so excitingly unique that they simply must become Your New Favourite Band. However, this Stockholm set draw heavily on the best of their Swedish counterparts – the frenetic guitars of The Hives (from Fagersta), the shiny pop tones of the Wannadies (from Skelleftea) and, ultimately, they worship at the altar of Robert Smith (of The Cure, of, erm Crawley, Sussex). This sumptuous combination means, of course, they are entertaining and really rather good. Definitely worth a gander.

The Shout Out Louds
The Cockpit, Leeds
(9 September 2005)

Pixelsurgeon Verdict

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