The Sounds, 'Crossing the Rubicon' (Original Signal)

Critical Mass
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by Nadine Oregan

Front-loaded with buzzy riffs and cutting vocals, the third studio album from this Swedish band is bracingly ambitious, clearly designed to be heard in arenas and stadiums. Vocalist Maja Ivarsson's '80s-leaning swagger can't disguise the tracks' general sameness, though -- and there's an anemic, greeting-card feeling to the lyrics on "Home Is Where Your Heart Is" and "Midnight Sun." But "4 Songs & a Fight" is smart, perfectly calibrated indie electro, and "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake" offers a dose of what the Sounds do best: beguiling, unabashed hooks.

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