September 6, 2007

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Shout Out Louds, Our Ill Wills
Merge Records, Sept. 11
It’s natural that Merge would want to build an entire suite of candlelit-bathtub-indie products around Arcade Fire, but Swedish quintet SOL is going to have to try something a little more innovative than myna-birding their labelmates’ hayloft symphonics and vicking a good 80 percent of their magnetism from the Cure. The fact that their vocal sound is redirected through a Deep Blue Something filter of faux-Scottish pompousness is distractive but doesn’t necessarily herald an alt-pop renaissance; the best any sentient fan will get out of this record is one or two songs to squeeze onto hir next Arcade Fire-centric mix burn. Album opener “Tonight I Have to Leave It” – and isn’t that a phrase you could easily picture Robert Smith cradling to his bosom – is “Just Like Heaven” retooled for an Arcade Fire B-side, finally landing on its duff when its break moves into a crescendo of “Give love, give love” just like Freddy Mercury does whenever you’re getting a medical checkup. C+Eric W. Saeger.