Peter Bjorn and John : Living Thing


magnumpr_tgf1golden-filter-2

Artwork from the “Lay it Down, Golden Filter Remix” which you can download here.

For those of you who are not familiar with Peter Bjorn and John, you need only to click on the below to trigger your memory.

Their 3rd album, Writer’s Block knocked us out with the flighty sweetness of that one song. Their fifth musical effort is of a slightly different thing altogether. It’s got heavy pounding, pulse biting beats that probably stands for the violent regurgitations of their romantic frustration, constantly assaulting the listener like  expletives hurled at you with excellent timing.

Before we go further into the album, let me just disclose some good facts about who Peter Bjorn and John are. After listening to “Young folks”, it is easy to mistake these guys as a group of 2 bespectacled young men dressed in shirts buttoned up in all their gingham glory, with an irritating habit of flipping their fringe in a really sensitive manner. But Peter Bjorn and John is really 3 guys instead of 2 (perhaps they could not find the comma that should have been there when they had to confirm their name, and decided to just go ahead without it ), all of whom look  threatening enough and better suited to rob a bank than writing glorious pop-rock ditties.  They are also from Sweden, which explains for that Scandinavian whine which we all love.

Living Thing Cover Art – all the pictures are made of letters of their own names.

The main thing about Living Thing is that, it is never going to be as good as “Young folks”. Most of the songs begin with a grand promise to be THAT song of the year, but always stops just a few steps away from greatness.  “Living Thing” sounds like a rehash of Hot Chip’s “Bendable, Posable” and “Stay this way” has this sweet,  affecting tune that wraps around your head, building up to a dramatic, tear-jerking climax that never really happens.  They even bravely attempt to create their own Indian chorus in the vein of Slumdog Millionaire.  “Nothing to Worry About” stands out with a fancy piece of choir work that would not seem out of place in an A.R. Rahman soundtrack. Still, it is disappointing in the sense that it makes you wonder whether all the songs would have sounded much better if an additional variable is introduced, or if they were sung by Lykke Li instead.

The closest they get to recreating the brilliance of  “Young Folks” is in “Lay it down”, which sounds like the communal effort of a gay choir,  cursing and clapping and slapping each other’s butts. It’s happy,  fun and a little  vulgar, as with most great things.

“Hey shut the fuck up boy!! You are starting to piss me off. Take your hands off that girl!! You have already had enough!”

It’s like a brilliant reference to the LOST love dynamic. JACK! SHUT THE FUCK UP WILL YOU! NO MORE “SHOWING SAWYER HOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE SITUATION” PREP TALKS! AND TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF JULIET! BECAUSE SHE BELONGS TO SAWYER! AND TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF KATE TOO! SHE BELONGS WITH THE DOUCHY MILES! AND HURLEY! YOU BELONG WITH SAYID! WE NEED TO SEE BOTH OF YOUR LUCIOUSLY CURLY MAN LOCKS IN THE SAME SCENE!

Peter Bjorn and John
Living Thing
7 out of 10

pbj

Download the first single, “Lay it down” by clicking the above picture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s