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coverpic flag Sweden - Full Moon 114 - 01/14/06

Shout Out Louds
Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
Capitol Records

Howl Howl Gaff Gaff is a most casual indie record that might've been life changing and enormously valuable if The Arcade Fire hadn't beaten this Swedish quintet to the orch-pop instant classic of the decade nearly a year in advance. This is the combination of two earlier EPs (100 Degrees and the later Oh, Sweetheart) similar to Fugazi's underground explosion 13 Songs. It's a fine sum of the parts lacking any brand spanking new gold. The songs get a lil more cheery than it's predecessor, the rainy-day "A Track and A Train" is as dreary as sun shiny Sweeds get. Even more interesting is "Go Sadness" which has that "Heroin"-ish flavor that embodies their homeland's fascination with indie's great great grandparents, the Velvets.

Singer Adam Olenius (the Lou Reed of the group) somehow finds a quirky character in a voice somehow trapped in the psychosis Conor O'Burst and the cheese of Pat Monahan. They could use a little less 60s pre-punk nostalgia, and part of me wishes they put some of their first 2002 EP Very Loud into the mix. Nevertheless, this debut is, sporadically, very much worth all the howling and gaffing surrounding this band already.

Copyright © 2006 Matthew DeMello e-mail address

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