Their debut album may be titled Living In America , but The Sounds actually live in Sweden, though the U.S. is quickly adopting this modern pop-rock quintet. With a sound that recalls such spunky, female-fronted new wave acts as Blondie and Missing Persons, and, according to the band, was also influenced by Duran Duran, Kraftwerk and Ultravox, they have dubbed themselves "the future of rock history."
Such considerable cheek has been backed up by the high-profile fans they've won over here in America. James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins signed them to his Scratchie Records label, Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters wore a Sounds t-shirt in his group's "Times Like These" video, and the red-hot production team The Neptunes nominated The Sounds for a Shortlist prize.
The band came together as high school students in their native Helsingborg in Southern Sweden. Childhood friends Felix Rodriguez (guitars) and Johan Bengtsson (bass) founded the band in 1998 and first added school pal Fredrik Nilsson on drums. Then Rodriguez met Maja Ivarsson (vocals) — a classically trained French horn player — in a music class and the budding outfit found a striking front person. Synthesizer player Jesper Anderberg signed on after the band members met him at a music festival and The Sounds were complete.
The album was recorded both in a Stockholm studio and Rodriguez's bedroom, and caught the ear of American rockers with its catchy songs and propulsive energy. The Sounds secured their foothold in the U.S. with tours and appearances on many major TV talk shows. "We are all about the 100% attack," explains Bengtsson. "We never want to give the audience room to think. That can happen afterwards. This is all about dancing and having a good time. We are a major chord band!"