When the ‘Swedish Invasion’ (QRO Swedish Sensations) of indie music broke out a few years after the Canadian one, the Shout Out Louds’ amazing Our Ill Wills (QRO review) was a little overshadowed by fellow indie-popsters such as Peter Bjorn and John (QRO spotlight on). 2010 follow-up Work (QRO review) was a little overshadowed by Our Ill Wills, being another fine slice of indie-pop, but rather similar to its still-superior predecessor. Well, Optica gets out of the shadows – and into the discotheque.
From the first keyboard notes to opener “Sugar”, Optica is a decided indietronica turn by the Shout Out Louds. Instead of relying on their old mainstays like guitars, drums, and accordion, synthesizers play a much larger part on this record. This isn’t just on their uplifting indie-pop like “14th of July” or “Glasgow” – their sadder, more resigned pieces turn into nighttime smooth in “Blue Ice” and “Hermila”. Even the band’s oh-so-Scandinavian woodwinds mix with indietronic tones on “Walking In Your Footsteps” or in the instrumental close to “Glasgow” (which was kind of just tacked on – should have been made its own, separate interlude track).
Time marches on for everyone, and while indie-pop was the hot sound near the end of the last decade, electronic waves are making waves now, and Shout Out Louds have kept up. It might not quite be the same band you hopefully fell in love with, but one who’s growing and you still love.