Sweden’s Shout Out Louds are a long-time favorite band of ours. We first saw them randomly play at the long-defunct LES club, Sin-é, with a friend’s band way back in 2004 and wrote them up for the first time at the opening of 2010, when they released their first album on Merge, the beginning-to-end superb Work. We’ve been fans of their catchy brand of pop ever since.

So we were thrilled when the band announced that they’ll be releasing their fourth full-length—Optica— in February.

The band has had some grown-up down time since Work, expanding families and exploring side-projects, so it should come as no surprise that they took their time writing Optica and spent a year and a half recording it in a small Stockholm studio. The band also celebrated a first, producing the album themselves with the help of  Johannes Berglund and working hand-in-hand with a string composer to create arrangements described by Carl von Arbin (guitar, second from left above) as “Disney on drugs” and by frontman Adam Olenius (far right above) as “like warm mayonnaise.” To Carl, we say: “That sounds rad, man”; to Adam: “You make our souls shudder in revulsion.”

The first single from the album, “Blue Ice”, is definitely a lower tempo, slow-burn kind of song, but it’s got all of the staples—driving rhythms, catchy keys, boy-girl harmonies, and oddly inconsolable lyrics. Dude’s bummed, man. Dude’s bummed. Maybe all that warm mayonnaise….ooh, bonus on this one though—80s-style handclaps in the chorus.

Download “Blue Ice” below and check out their official, very Space Camp video. You can sign up for Shout Out Louds’ newsletter (top of the page) to get first listens to other tracks from the coming album and stay up-to-date on shows, but they’ll be kicking off their tour right here in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 11.

You can pre-order Optica on CD or Vinyl over at Merge and digitally at iTunes.

Now let’s get sadly spacey, Reader: