Morningwood + Sounds = Action!
Elizabeth Stolfi
staff writer
June 02, 2006
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When the Sounds first exploded onto the glossy magazine pages of the world in 2003, their debut album Living in America instantly made them the cool new kids on the block. Their bigger than Blondie attitude and explosive 80’s style gave them a free pass to hipster café, MTV (or FUSE, rather), and Rolling Stone magazine all at the same time. Now, no older, no wiser, but still kick ass, The Sounds have released their sophomore effort Dying to Say This To You.

So, on Wednesday April 12th, The Sounds made their way to New York’s Irving Plaza, supported by local New York City kids Morningwood (Captiol) and Action Action (Victory). If nothing else, the combination of these three bands was going to equal 4 hours of constant high energy rockin’. Action Action gave a pretty impressive performance (despite some equipment problems during the opener), including bass player Clarke Foley throwing his bass 6 feet in the air and not missing a note. Their debut album, An Army of Shapes Between Wars is emo’s answer to The Killers, mixing a signature post-emo sound (think Taking Back Sunday and Brand New) with new wave dance rock like Franz Ferdinand.

Morningwood was pretentiously over-energetic. Singer Chantal Claret flailed about to an excruciating extent, to the point where any chance of her singing halfway decent was automatically impossible (though it was obvious that she didn’t care). From the back of the venue, all you could see was everyone’s hair flying around. The band’s motto, “Sexy music for sexy people,” was used frequently during the show, as they rated how good the audience was with a boob scale; the bead of sweat on the nipple being the best. They also enticed a fan to come onstage and strip down to her underwear during “Take off Your Clothes,” as Claret rubbed up against her while squealing the songs lyrics. They are called Morningwood, after all.

The Sounds took the stage after 10:30, with the audience still full of energy. Maja Ivarsson looked like a cardboard cut-out of Debbie Harry, complete with bleach blond hair and hipster black dress (and I'm confident she was bare-foot). She spit and held the mic in her crotch, but it was somehow classy. At the end of "Hit Me," the bands fast paced punk anthem from their debut, Ivarsson jumped into the audience like a maniac, but when she got back on stage, she asked if anyone was hurt and apologized. She was the perfect balance between punk and diva, and makes the bands new-wave songs that much better.

Even if you weren’t a fan of the band, you had to bop your head along to their insanely catchy tunes. From the very first song, they played as if It was Madison Square Garden and they were the biggest band in the world. Some may say that they are too similar to Blondie, but copying a good thing doesn’t seem so bad. Both Claret and Ivarsson are almost like caricatures of female rock stars; kicking high, stage diving, cursing between songs, and the occasional strip tease. For what they are trying to do, Morningwood and The Sounds have it down pat. They may not be saving Rock ‘n’ Roll, but they are having too much fun to care.

[RMR]