According to Abercrombie & Fitch’s catalog-disguised-as-magazine A & F Quarterly, the Sounds’ Living in America is “a flashback to ’80s punk and dance, but not in that cheesy, one-hit-wonder kind of way.” And just like using images of anorexic 14-year-olds to sell underwear, this is very, very wrong. The fact that every song on the Swedish fivesome’s American debut resembles a cheesy ’80s one-hit-wonder is exactly what makes it so great. Their tunes are so irresistible I swear Max Martin is lurking in there somewhere.
Though singer Maja Ivarsson may look like Debbie Harry, her voice is pure Kim Wilde, whose “Kids in America” is updated on the curiously anti-American title track (“We’re not living in America!/And we’re not sorry for you!”). But the real star is keyboardist Jesper Anderberg. His cornball swooshes and joyous Eurodisco melody lines recall what most people considered new wave during the real Reagan era (as opposed to the fake one we’re experiencing right now, during which new wave apparently means Gang of Four and minimalist electro). All this band needs are a couple of power ballads, and they’ll be the new Roxette.