This Swedish band is very adept at writing catchy pop tunes. Their talent for doing something very well, however, has gotten the Sounds into a bit of a bind.

Listen to any of the band’s albums prior to this one and you’ll mostly hear songs that channel popular female-fronted “new wave” groups like Blondie; a beloved sound to be sure but not one that’s going to get a group out of the underground in 2011. So now lead singer Maja Ivarsson and crew have tweaked things a little bit and taken square aim at today’s pop charts by moving toward a more dance-oriented sound.

“It’s So Easy” begins with an electro gurgle and a thudding bass drum beat that together clear the path for sparkling synth riffs and a hooky robo-pop-meets-ABBA vocal chorus as it segues into “Dance With the Devil.” “Something to Die For” also features fuzzy synth and a heavy dance beat, but the Sounds are sort of easing their fans into the realm of higher B.P.M.s and not completely abandoning their fondness for new wave, evident on songs like “Diana” and “The No No Song,” tunes that could have garnered major airplay in the early ’80s.

Grade: A



Something to Die For is currently available.