It’s tempting to tear into this review for Our Ill Wills, the second release from the Stockholm-based Shout Out Louds, with an obligatory dark-second-album intro, something along the lines of “A more muted, somber affair than the band’s debut, the infectious, poppy Howl Howl Gaff Gaff (2005) . . . ,” despite the fact that Our Ill Wills practically crackles and swoons with handclaps, giddily whirling strings, and the now-obligatory indie-pop references to Conor Oberst and the Beach Boys. Still, there is a darker, more autumnal shading to the disc, especially when compared to the sunny, mid-summer garage kinetics of its predecessor. Although Our Ill Wills opens with the gorgeous, orchestral pop grandeur of “Tonight I Have to Leave It” and closes with the epic, spinning collapse of “Hard Rain,” its remainder comprises weary, dejected lyrics and three-in-the-morning “Where are you tonight?” melancholy.
Like their ’60s influences — almost any band from Nuggets will do — the members of the Shout Out Louds use the dichotomy of sadness and yearning buried beneath a heady, clattering pop sheen to give the music a winning tension, something missing on their catchy but ephemeral debut. And although this will probably prevent any more of their songs from popping up on such teen-candy mixes from One Tree Hill and Seventeen magazine, it will allow for the inclusion of their breathy, moody “Blue Headlights” or the heartsick beauty of “Impossible” to sneak into your own mixtapes made for broken friends and ex-lovers — provided they appreciate those dark second albums.