Peter Bjorn and John
Label: Startime International
Over the years, Swedish rock group Peter Bjorn and John have played with a variety of styles and sounds, but the group’s latest album “Gimme Some,” due out on March 29, is largely a return to what made them popular in the first place.
Peter Moren, Bjorn Yttling and John Eriksson have been making music as Peter Bjorn and John, affectionately known by some fans as PB&J, since 1999 but are best known for their 2006 megahit “Young Folks.” The song, driven by an infectious whistled melody, has been used in a number of different kinds of media including video games, movie soundtracks, and commercials.
Peter Bjorn and John’s last album, 2009 release “Living Things,” was a shift for the band as they moved away from their indie pop-rock style towards a more hip-hop, electronic sound. It was a solid effort to be sure, although it left fans wondering if it was an experimental record or a true movement into something new.
With “Gimme Some,” the group’s sixth album, Peter Bjorn and John return to the catchy tunes they’re best known for, albeit with a noticeable emphasis on pop this time around.
Opening track “Tomorrow Has to Wait” is a great example of what Peter Bjorn and John are about. The song is backed by a straightforward guitar line and a simple, steady beat of the drums and opens with a simple line (“I don’t think you’re sorry for what you did”) sung and echoed back. The lyrics are thoughtful and strangely sad but upbeat at the same time as it’s unclear who they are directed at as they sing, “It’s too late/But tomorrow has to wait/It’s the time of your life/So tomorrow has to wait.”
The track doesn’t do much, nor does it try to, but at just under three minutes, it’s a wonderful introduction to the rest of the album.
“Second Chance” is the first single off “Gimme Some” and it’s easy to see why from just one listen. The wonderful guitar riff and cowbell combine for a fun backing track to a song that’s more gloomy in tone.
The album is fun and catchy the whole way through. “Breaker Breaker” is one of the best examples of this with its rolling drum beats, fast guitar, and super-short run time (1:39). It’s followed by “May Seem Macabre,” a song more somber both in tone and naming.
The juxtaposition between the upbeat and the serious defines “Gimme Some.” While the catchy tunes and decidedly pop feel to the album will keep it stuck in your head, a closer listen to the lyrics reveals something more meaningful than a simple romp.
But make no mistake, the album is a joy to listen to as Peter Bjorn and John, for the most part, go back to what they are best at. With its memorable melodies and overall entertaining feel, “Gimme Some” would be a great choice for a summertime soundtrack.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org