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Swedish indie-trio's
sweetly-laced angst

Peter Bjorn and John - Gimme Some
(Almost Gold Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 13, 2011
Peter Bjorn and John

Review by Tony Bonyata

Following the success of their 2006 breakthrough album, Writer's Block, and the smash hit "Young Folks" from it, Swedish indie-rock darlings Peter Bjorn and John challenged many of their new followers with a musical shift toward icier synth rock on their last couple of albums. While the change may have confounded some, it proved they weren't about to merely whistle their way to the top of the charts with any type of syrupy pop follow-up. And thankfully they've taken the same approach on their sixth full-length effort entitled Gimme Some as they continue to branch out even further into new musical terrain.

The trio immediately chart the bold direction of their new album on the opening track "Black Book," a brief and spastic, guitar-fueled scorcher that actually owes more to early punk rock than the indie-pop and electro-musings they're better known for. The tracks "(Don't Let Them) Cool Off" and "Breaker Breaker" are also chockfull of nervous and twitchy energy, yet, with catchy choruses and buoyant melodies, there's also an undeniable accessibility to them. Perhaps three of the strongest tracks, the album's first single "Second Chance," along with "May Seem Macabre" and the indelible pop of "Lies" best showcase PB&J's current modus operandi of sweetly-laced angst.

While there are a couple of tracks on the album that tend to slip out of memory as soon as they're over, such as the bleak matter-of-factness of "I Know You Don't Love Me," as well as the chugging "Down Like Me," they're offset by not only the aforementioned highlights, but also the catchiest pop track on the record, "Dig A Little Deeper," which, with its effervescent rhythm and Caribbean-laced call-and-response harmonies, proves that even when they want to get a bit tougher, they'll never totally lose their inherently sweet dispositions.

Related articles:

Peter Bjorn and John (Lollapalooza 2009) - Festival review - Chicago, IL August 2009

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