Shout Out Louds Howl Howl Gaff Gaff

There’s no doubt that Sweden has provided the pop world with a wealth of real talent in the past few years, but it would seem reasonable to think that not every Swedish band is going to be as good as, say, the Concretes. Yet Shout Out Louds are yet another Scandinavian band to buck the trend. There’s a certain irony in kicking off your debut international release with a song entitled "The Comeback,” simply because there’s a real good chance that this might be the last we ever hear from Shout Out Louds — thanks to the fickleness of the MTV generation. But if ever a band stood a decent chance of sticking around, it would be this one because this new version of the album (which differs somewhat from the Swedish debut) seems to have trimmed all the fat and added some newer EP tracks to make a record without a single weak song. Howl Howl Gaff Gaff is a more eclectic album than most bands make, although it might be in part to the fact that the songs were recorded over a period of two years, but they all share the infectiousness that the best pop music possesses. So over the duration of 11 songs, there are moments reminiscent of the Cars, Weezer, Grandaddy and some other bands who deserve to be emulated. So it isn’t going to be Shout Out Louds who bring Sweden’s history of fabulous pop bands to an end, and that can only be a good thing. (Capitol)