Shout Out Louds' debut record, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, is a blast of sparkling energy from start to finish and a contender for best out-of-the-blue debut of 2005. Coming from the angle of the pure pop sound of the '60s filtered through the indie pop of the '80s and '90s and the Beach Boys-worshiping chamber pop of the early 2000s, the Swedish quintet has crafted an album loaded with great songs, exciting performances, and an unerring ear for arrangements. In fact, a better combination of arrangement, emotion, and melody is hard to find anywhere in the early 2000s to date. Saturday Looks Good to Me, for sure. The Concretes, perhaps. The real point is that Howl Howl Gaff Gaff is an excellent album. It is made up of tracks released in Scandinavia on various singles and on the band's first album (also confusingly titled Howl Howl Gaff Gaff), and while that cherry picking may account for the strength of the record, who would complain about methods when the end result is so sweet? There just isn't a weak song on the record and to list the best would mean reprinting the entire track list. Let's just say that if the likes of "The Comeback," "Very Loud," and "Hurry Up Let's Go" don't get your teenage pulse racing and heartstring pluckers like "Oh, Sweetheart," "There's Nothing," and "Seagull" don't raise a lump in your throat, you might as well pack it in and turn out the lights because nobody's home. The title of the album might be garbled nonsense, but everything about the record is brilliantly clear and brilliant in the true definition of the word – that is, glittering, striking, and distinctive.
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