Maybe before it folded, the mag didn’t realize Gwen Stefani was getting back to business with the group that made her famous.
Regardless, Ivarsson (left) seems more like an Eighties throwback, a cross between the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde and Three’s Company’s Chrissy Snow, the dimwitted character from the hit TV show played by Suzanne Somers.
Not that Ivarsson is a ditz with a blond upsweep. Call her that and she’s liable to kick your ass, her live performance proving she’s certainly capable of karate-like moves. In skintight leather and spandex, no less. So watch out, boys and girls, don’t get too close to the tattooed lady. She snarls. She growls. She spits. She prowls. Her voice more gritty than pretty. Her eyeliner as thick as her accent.
While Ivarsson, reportedly a bisexual, is the group’s main attraction, there’s plenty of other eye candy to go around. Guitarist Felix Rodriguez (below left, with Ivarsson) added some heft to the proceedings with soaring guitars on Crossing the Rubicon’s “Dorchester Hotel” and “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake.”
Drummer Fredrik Nilsson took charge on “Beatbox” (the Ting Tings, anyone?) and bass player Johan Bengtsson (just call him “The Sound of Silence”) was the picture of concentration. Keyboardist Jesper Anderberg had that androgynous Flock of Seagulls thing going on, and kept the Eighties alive by leaning heavily on the synths on “Hurt You” and “Painted By Numbers,” both from their second album Dying To Say This To You.
At least on this latest record, there seems to be less reliance on this Missing Persons/Berlin/Human League-like electronica, and that could help the quintet avoid becoming a flashback in the pan.
They wrapped up their session to polite applause with “Hope You’re Happy Now” from 2002’s debut, Living in America, a mere 20 or so minutes after it all began. But The Sounds didn’t go quietly into the night.