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Lingering With the Sunlight: Shout Out Louds’ Optica


by Charissa Lock

Ah…nothing swoons and belts out spring like Adam Olenius’ vocals.  Tree buds are doing what they do best (budding), and flower petals are cautiously unattaching from one another, slowly yet optimistically unfolding.   The sun’s glow sweeps over the horizon a bit longer at the ending of everyday allowing you to lose track of time; either immersed in a tangled conversation, extending your 9 holes to 18, allowing yourself to be pulled in tightly to the conclusion of your book, or drifting away to fifty five minutes of carefully and elegantly composed melodies.

The peaceful elements that surround Optica [Merge Records] (Out Now)  are of curious nature, for the lyrics consist of sadder themes, so where this enforced relaxation stems from can only be found in instrumentation and melodies.   Laying on a blanket in the deepening green color of grass, as the Shout Out Louds swarm over you can certainly be credited to the sophisticatedly jubilant wind instrumentation.   Known for their multi-instrument compositions, you can always expect the unexpected to slide together nicely, and with the noted wind instruments making a footprint in Optica – nothing can deter you away from the magical spring ideal.

Not to worry, they have not gone all whimsical nor ballad-esque, rather they continue to house the same sound as they always have.   Filling in yet another classic Shout Out Louds (SOL) album, where fans all over can breathe a sigh of relief, then allow grins to spread at the growth without change structure that is evidently displayed and heard throughout.  The Scottish* quartet* remains exciting and experimenting with sounds through musically trending additions.   These twelve tracks float over and under, looping and landing casually before taking off again.


On all SOL albums there are those handful of “woah” melodies that melt on your tongue, infusing your tastebuds with a dangerous guitar riff or a few perfect linking keys on the piano.  Optica continues this enjoyable trend with their intro “Sugar,” where a piano melody that seems so simple is just the right note with echoing vocals that quickly becomes stamped as ‘perfect.’  The vocal melody with sprinkling of wind instruments in “Burn” is such a casual outpouring of tight and classy composition.   It’s in their confident ability to not flood your ears with all the sassy sounds they’re ingesting, but let you search and find them if you care to.

Bebban Stenborg takes on a more dynamic role than usual, and with all the female outpouring in trending bands it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.   Specifically in “Hermila” a Metric-esque atmosphere, there is a pleasing element of Bebban coming alive in probably the most modern song as opposed to receiving a slower often skipped track on previous albums.   Not to say her stand-alone vocals are heard in more songs, but that her addition is directed in a more trendy way then it previously had been.

Optica is quite fitting with spring’s delicate entrance, allowing you to get lost within the moment of a warm glaze on your cheeks and inhaling of a fragrance tinted with sweetness.  Hovering, making an impression that will always last among the other SOL melodies for whenever you need to acquire the spring’s crawling rebirth.

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