Why is Sweden so hip and … clean? They have Ikea, Abba, Pippi Longstocking and Shout Out Louds.

Though they’re now nine years old, Shout Out Louds are still coming out with singles I love as much as their original work.

As I scrolled through my iTunes I noticed a chunk of their songs in a lowly, untouched section of playcounts. Because I steal massive amounts of music from my better informed/stocked friends, I sometimes encounter brand new gems right on my own MacBook.

Check out one of their 2010 singles and a little of their older work if you’re unfamiliar:

The old

Impossible – Shout Out Louds

“Impossible” (released in 2008). Like the Ikea furniture my dorm room is filled with, it’s delicately crafted but accessible. Singers Adam Olenius and Bebban Stenborg carefully pronounce each word in a simple, breathy tone — “Impossible…your love is something I cannot remember.” Their complementary voices make me wonder why male and female pairs don’t front bands more often. Be warned, however, “Impossible” is a doozy of a listen at almost 7 minutes long.

The new

“Walls.” This track has more energy and angst than their older work, but it certainly shows that the Shout Out Louds are maturing. Lyrics like “I took too many pills and wrote my will just to get to you” make you reconsider the previous light-hearted pensiveness of the group — “Have they gone disgustingly emo on me?” was my first worry when I heard the start of the song. But the song gains steam as it progresses, with more and more energy in its instrumental interludes and a building desperation in the repetition of the words “Run away!”

The Shout Out Louds are worth a listen because they don’t try to pull any punches on you – what you get is what you see, for the most part: a punchy sound combined with unpretentious lyrics and a little bit of synthesizer-induced fun with a synthesizer (it is Euro music, after all).