damn, not a whistle to be heard
when will I learn? don't watch the video, just listen to the music

Grade - 1.5

released Mar 29th, 2011

from the album - Second Chance - 1.5


from all music


Peter Bjorn and John formed in 1999 in Stockholm, Sweden, comprised of members Peter Morén on vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Björn Yttling on vocals, bass, and keyboards; and John Eriksson on drums, percussion, and vocals. Although influenced by the sounds of classic '60s baroque pop, power pop, and new wave, the band shunned the "revivalist" tag and, instead, created some of the most exciting and original indie rock of the mid-2000s. Peter Bjorn and John began playing gigs soon after forming and eventually found themselves on music compilations alongside artists like Sahara Hotnights, Badly Drawn Boy, and Holiday for Strings. After releasing the Forbidden Chords EP and a pair of singles ("Failing and Passing" and "I Don't Know What I Want Us to Do"), the band released its self-titled first album in 2002 on the tiny Beat That! label.

After more shows, more EPs (People They Know, 100m of Hurdles), and another single ("See Through"), the group jumped to the Planekonomi label in 2004 and released the Beats, Traps and Backgrounds EP. It was soon followed by the 2004 album Falling Out, which was picked up for American release by Hidden Adenda in late 2005. The record placed them -- along with the Concretes, the Shout Out Louds (both of whom Yttling has produced records for), and the Legends -- at the forefront of the sparkling wave of promising pop bands coming from Sweden. The band's third album, Writer's Block, followed a year later and became a minor international hit, buoyed by the catchy single "Young Folks." The song's video also boosted the band's profile, gently propelling Peter Bjorn and John into a very 2000s kind of fame that culminated in them playing the tune with Kanye West at the 2007 Way Out West Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden.

After completing various tours in support of Writer's Block, the band focused on other projects (including Yttling's production work and Morén's 2008 solo album, The Last Tycoon) before coming together to record and release a largely instrumental album, Seaside Rock, in the autumn of 2008. Living Thing, the band's darker, more experimental fourth full-length album, was released several months later in early 2009. In 2011, Peter Bjorn and John returned to their melodic pop roots with the decidedly more accessible Gimme Some.

Album Review

Peter Bjorn and John had a typical indie rock reaction to the demands and trappings of success that “Young Folks” brought them. They went dark and weird, first recording an arty instrumental album, then returning with Living Thing, which was almost too experimental and abstract. They must have thought so, too, because on Gimme Some, things have brightened considerably, with arrangements dominated by guitars, plenty of uptempo tracks, and an overall energy that was missing from the last album. There is still a healthy amount of interesting arrangements and instrumental flourishes, but songs like the irrepressible "Dig a Little Deeper" or the cowbell-led "Second Chance" sound almost like a new band. Or how PB and J sounded on their first two albums, straightforward and punchy. They even throw in a couple new tricks, like the super-punky, super-short songs like the corrosive "Breaker Breaker" and "Black Book." Some credit could go to the producer, since for the first time the trio brought in an outsider, Per Sunding, to help craft their sound. More likely, they just wanted to make music that was fun again and they succeeded, even though the lyrics can be a little downcast at times. Definitely on the weary and self-hating “Down Like Me,” obviously, but it pops up elsewhere from time to time. That’s to be expected, though, since PB and J were never the cheeriest bunch to start with. They have a nice way with a melancholy ballad, and the beautifully restrained “May Seem Macabre” is one of the highlights of the album. Peter's vocals on that track, and the rest of the album, are stronger than ever, full of everyman soul and fire. He sings the bulk of the songs this time out, with Bjorn singing two and John chipping in on one. Despite this disparity, Gimme Some feels like result of a true collaboration this time. The photo of the band in the CD booklet shows three guys in a tight circle playing heads-down intense, and it feels like this camaraderie and dedication has paid off in a record that may not save their career commercially, but will prove that they are still vital and exciting.

Track Listing

1 Tomorrow Has to Wait Peter Bjorn and John 2:57
2 Dig a Little Deeper Peter Bjorn and John 3:50
3 Second Chance Peter Bjorn and John 4:12
4 Eyes Peter Bjorn and John 2:53
5 Breaker Breaker Peter Bjorn and John 1:39
6 May Seem Macabre Peter Bjorn and John 4:41
7 (Don't Let Them) Cool Off Peter Bjorn and John 2:48
8 Black Book Peter Bjorn and John 1:35
9 Down Like Me Peter Bjorn and John 3:49
10 Lies Peter Bjorn and John 3:10
11 I Know You Don't Love Me Peter Bjorn and John 5:38