13 Songs, 1 Hour

EDITORS’ NOTES

The '80s are alive and well in Sweden. Or at least that's what the Swedish indie poppers Shout Out Louds would have you believe on their 2013 album Optica. Synths, bombastic reverb, shoulder-padded beats, and grand vocal ensembles all recall that era in every way. "Illusions" spins out sleek pop that takes late-'70s disco thumps and ABBA-like catchiness and throws it out there like it's the early '80s finishing off the previous decade's achievements. "Blue Ice" swipes a Miami vibe with cool-breeze percussion and lounge-act electric piano. "14th of July" pumps up the volume for a dance floor–shaking tribute to, quite possibly, New Order. For all the deliberately garish and overdone arrangements here, the songwriting of frontman Adam Olenius gives the album a human touch that's as sincere as any acoustic singer/songwriter bemoaning his fate. The album is a bit of a Rorschach test; you'll pull out of it what your mind puts into it. "Forever" is a bonus track not available on the standard album.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The '80s are alive and well in Sweden. Or at least that's what the Swedish indie poppers Shout Out Louds would have you believe on their 2013 album Optica. Synths, bombastic reverb, shoulder-padded beats, and grand vocal ensembles all recall that era in every way. "Illusions" spins out sleek pop that takes late-'70s disco thumps and ABBA-like catchiness and throws it out there like it's the early '80s finishing off the previous decade's achievements. "Blue Ice" swipes a Miami vibe with cool-breeze percussion and lounge-act electric piano. "14th of July" pumps up the volume for a dance floor–shaking tribute to, quite possibly, New Order. For all the deliberately garish and overdone arrangements here, the songwriting of frontman Adam Olenius gives the album a human touch that's as sincere as any acoustic singer/songwriter bemoaning his fate. The album is a bit of a Rorschach test; you'll pull out of it what your mind puts into it. "Forever" is a bonus track not available on the standard album.

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