Every so often a band writes a song that is so stunningly good that everyone takes notice. From the hipsters at Pitchfork to the good and very mainstream folks at 'Grey's Anatomy', 'Young Folks' off the new album by Stockh... more »olm Sweden's Peter Bjorn and John is just that song. Aided by an eerie whistle and a moving duet between Peter Moren and ex-concretes singer Victoria Bergsman "Young Folks" is everything: in dance clubs, on the TV, and playing at trend-setting radio stations. This is a Limited Edition 2 LP set.« less
Every so often a band writes a song that is so stunningly good that everyone takes notice. From the hipsters at Pitchfork to the good and very mainstream folks at 'Grey's Anatomy', 'Young Folks' off the new album by Stockholm Sweden's Peter Bjorn and John is just that song. Aided by an eerie whistle and a moving duet between Peter Moren and ex-concretes singer Victoria Bergsman "Young Folks" is everything: in dance clubs, on the TV, and playing at trend-setting radio stations. This is a Limited Edition 2 LP set.
"Swedish pop group Peter Bjorn and John are apparently trying to confuse us, and for a brief time, it works.
Their third album "Writer's Block" has the misfortune to open on a rather saggy note, but fortunately hoists itself up for a blurry blend of indiepop and northern atmospheric synth. So straggle through the first two tracks, because the indiepop that follows is solid, multilayered and quite excellent.
It opens with a faint, atmospheric little track that sounds like Sigur Ros tuning up. Then suddenly it careens into nonstop guitar pop in "Object of My Affection," with drums pounding right over those steely riffs. "And you still can make sense/if you just show up and present an honest face/instead of that grin," Peter Morén sings happily.
Not only is it a lot simpler than the other songs, but I got a headache from those relentless drums and guitar. At that point I was groaning, anticipating a whole album of the same. But I was wrong.
Things start perking up with the shimmying, sunny indiepop of "Young Folks," which has some enchantingly feathery edges and constant whistling. The other songs have a similar mix of shimmery keyboard and solid indiepop -- thumpy little marches, swirling psychedelic hymns, gentle ballads blooming into driving guitarpop, folksy ballads, and the shimmering prettiness of "The Chills."
For your info, there is no Peter Bjorn -- it's actually "Peter, Bjorn and John," three Swedish guys who play the instruments and all provide vocals. And despite a couple of mediocre songs on "Writer's Block," these guys really know how to make great indiepop -- lots of northern wind and snow, and a delightfully sunny 1970s pop mentality.
There's plenty of ringing, peppy guitar and unstoppable bass from Morén and Björn Yttling, while John Eriksson provides some fast drumming as well. Yttling swaddles almost all the melodies in a hazy edge of soft, colourful synth, and turning some of them into bittersweet, chilly pop. Most of the songs are pretty upbeat, even with a bit of harmonica and whistling to remind us to be cheery.
Much of the album is about sort of ambiguous -- half of it seems to be about breaking up with a lover, and the other half is about how much you adore them. "Your tongue is sharp/but I miss the taste of it/You said time heals/there's not enough of it..." Moren sings in his slightly nasal voice. It's just a few songs after, "Hours seems to disappear/everyone is leaving -- I'm still with you."
"Writer's Block" has a couple tracks that don't quite fit in, but the overall album is a delicious blend of cheery pop melodies and blurry keyboard. Definitely a good listen."
I give it an A
K. A Brown | Chicago, IL United States | 05/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have been hearing the song "Young Folks" on the radio and like it. Decided to buy the whole CD and I sure am glad I did! This is great stuff. A little bit folk, a little bit rock-and-roll, a little bit electronic. "Amsterdam" is a super-interesting, very different song and is my favorite on the album. "Let's Call it Off" is good too. All in all some catchy tunes and a super album."
PB&J - my favorite sandwich and now, new band!
oopstress | San Diego, CA, USA | 08/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd been looking for a band similar to the Cardigans, so when the catchy "Young Folks" reeled me in on our local indie rock station here, I decided to get the entire album (well, also after hearing the samples on Amazon). I'd been listening to it sporadically amidst all my other new music purchases (yes, on a music binge again), but bought tickets to an upcoming show thinking "Wow, there's a lot of rich sounds on this record that can't possibly be done live - how will they really sound?", but still, I had a good feeling that this would be a pretty good show. I saw them last night at the House of Blues in San Diego live and they were AMAZING! The small venue was perfect for hearing those beautiful Radiohead-esque guitar distortions, which kind of get muffled out on the record. Peter has a great stage presence and was really energetic! His bouncing around kind of reminded me a little of Thom Yorke. There isn't one bad track on this record although I'm partial to "The Chills", "Amsterdam" and "Objects of my Affection". And yes, "Up Against the Wall" IS in that new LEVI's commercial, but hey, who doesn't like LEVI's? This is their breakout album and they're getting noticed. Hope their next album is as good or better than this one. I'm hooked!"
A nice surprise
Mark Koop | San Rafael, California | 01/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up in the age of vinyl and cassettes. It was a time when you couldn't just download the one song ("Young Folks") from the album that you liked. I had to buy entire albums for the one song that I liked, so I typically didn't buy albums from artists that only had one song that I liked. I thought that PB & J were going to be a band that got lucky with one song. I took a chance and bought the entire CD based upon most of the glowing reviews that I read. I was more than happy with my decision. This was my favorite CD of 2008 (even though it was released in 2007). When I listen to their music, it reminds me of other artists, but I'm never quite sure who. This is the beauty of their music. They can borrow from others and make it into their own (kind of like Oasis)."
Three Good Reasons to Experience Writer's Block.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 09/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It would be too easy to compare the arresting sound of Scandanavian trio Peter Bjorn and John to The Shins or to the Velvet Underground. Band members Peter Morén (vocals, guitar and harmonica), Björn Yttling (bass guitar, keyboards and vocals) and John Eriksson (drums, percussion and vocals) have a sound with classic 60's pop, power pop and new wave influences. There are at least three good reasons to add the band's third album Writer's Block to one's collection: it includes the infectious single, "Young Folks," with Victoria Bergsman (of The Concretes) on vocals, the track "Amsterdam," and the single, "Let's Call It Off." Just how good is this album? Well, I can't get "Young Folks" out of my head. Complete album tracks include:
1. Writer's Block 0:18 2. Objects Of My Affection 4:35 3. Young Folks 4:39 4. Amsterdam 3:37 5. Start To Melt 2:15 6. Up Against The Wall 7:06 7. Paris 2004 3:52 8. Let's Call It Off (Single Version) 3:39 9. The Chills 3:50 10. Roll The Credits 6:31 11. Poor Cow 4:45 12. Ancient Curse 3:24 13. All Those Expectations (Weak Remix) 2:11 14. Let's Call It Off (Girl Talk Remix) 3:18