Send out the riot police.
Sounds Like Violence rolls into Moscow this week, and even a crew of street-ready bluecoats, rubber bullets and a handful of smoke grenades aren’t going be enough to extinguish this fiery foursome’s ferocious energy.
Spouting a venomous collection of tracks off its sophomore full-length, “With Blood on My Hands,” Sounds Like Violence emits an audible energy that explodes with the force of 1000 tons of TNT.
Hailing from the picturesque hamlet of Ängelholm, Sweden (pop. 21,700), a town best known for its beaches, wildlife and folk music, the emergence of Sounds Like Violence’s extensive repertoire of post-grunge knock-you-on-your-ass rock, is an odd evolution.
On “Nothing,” the disc’s raucous opener, singer/songwriter Andreas Söderlund gives us a taste: “We used to rip each other’s hearts out / it felt good / I knew that I was alive / but now we have nothing.”
Backed by guitarist Philip Hall, bassist Daniel Teodorsson and stickman Daniel Petersson, Söderlund successfully leads the crew through 12 tracks of darkly delicious musical drama. From Hall’s Jawbox-esque guitar leads, to Petersson’s melodronic beats, Sounds Like Violence is perpetually at odds with itself, one minute busting out alterna-pop, the next, abrasive screamo. But through it all, one thing remains constant — Sounds Like Violence is punch-you-in-the-gut intense.
On “Wrong,” Söderlund belts it out: “Your cuts go deep / you puncture my veins / I even feel them in my sleep.” Söderlund tries hard to hide his thick, Swedish drawl — the effect (which at its best moments is reminiscent of Archers of Loaf’s Eric Bachman and Interpol’s Paul Banks) is hauntingly captivating.
The angst of youth? Love gone bad? Söderlund is certainly peeved about something, and on the band’s latest it shows. “Glad I’m Losing You”: “I’ve been picking on you, ’cause I dislike you / I know you’re gorgeous / but I’m tired of your sweet talk.”
The CD’s best track, “Until Death Do Us Part,” is no shade lighter: “I’ve died a million times / at least in my mind / I was drowned in the sea and then they buried me / is all this blood on my hands my own blood / who shot the gun / who let the sky fall down?”
As the disc progresses, Sounds Like Violence gravitates toward darker material still. “Heartless Wreck”: “My blood’s been dripping to your floor for the past 10 years, every drop has been hurting / how the hell did you survive / I cut you with my biggest knife / my intention was to kill you.”
But its not all bloody murder. Even on the disc’s most lurid moments, Sounds Like Violence packs in just enough rock riffs and sing-out-loud chorus lines to keep your head bobbing.
“Directions” takes a cue from fellow Swedes, Millencolin, herding Hall’s slippery fingers, Söderlund’s alliteration-heavy lyrical stylings and Teodorsson’s sugary “oohs” and “ahhs,” into a toe-tapping Euro-punk extravaganza. But the good times are short-lived. On “Longing for a Warm Embrace,” Söderlund is back wallowing in the doldrums: “I wanna stay the same / don’t wanna change like seasons changing colors / I’m floating in space / longing for a warm embrace from you.”
The group is rapidly gaining exposure on America’s indie circuit, and across the Atlantic the band’s shows are swarming with fanatical European fans going goo-goo over the new album. But law enforcement be warned, when Sounds Like Violence heads to Moscow this week, it’s going to take the stage in a fit of riotous musical fury. Reinforcements ready?
For more information about Sounds Like Violence, visit: http://www.deepelm.com/bands/index_slv.html.