Swedish indie punk-pop band, Peter Bjorn and John, released their new album Gimme Some last month. With this album, they returned to the roots of their first widely successful release by bringing the energy back to their music that they had lost in their previous record, Living Thing. In Gimme Some, they drifted away from the heavier content of Living Thing, replacing the monotony with buoyant lyrics and catchy beats.
PB&J’s story is a common one. Many bands break into the limelight with a catchy single and great album like these guys did with the song Young Folks on their record Writer’s Block. Then, trying to avoid the pressure of recreating the greatness that was their prior album, they decided to go a different direction with the next one. That direction: boring. This happens all too often. Then, after seeing the disappointing results of that new direction, the band comes to the brilliant conclusion that maybe with their next album they might benefit from going back to the style that made them famous in the first place. Genius! What a surprising twist that would be! For Peter Bjorn and John, Gimme Some is that “unexpected” back-to-basics comeback album.
Though the situation these Swedish rockers found themselves in is commonplace and predictable, they defeated the odds and actually made a pretty decent comeback with Gimme Some. The first track on the album, Tomorrow Has To Wait, provided a strong opening for the record. The song employs call and response, which normally fails miserably, but works remarkably well here. The prominent percussion mixed with the simple, yet catchy lyrics and melody ensures that this song will be stuck in your head for some time. Or at least until the next track begins.
The first three tracks on the album make for a good introduction. Dig A Little Deeper has a reggae feel throughout, which the guys emphasize by adding an onslaught of bongos at the end. Following the island flair comes the single from the album, Second Chance. This song has recently been popping up on my ipod quite often lately, and I find myself jamming every time. It’s an all around catchy song, with it’s woo ooos and simple, pop chorus. PB&J use the cowbell in this song– a lot. But, it works. More cowbell! (I couldn’t resist)
Although the remainder of Gimme Some isn’t filled with anything too memorable, it is all good stuff. Peter Bjorn and John kept the upbeat theme going throughout, aside from a couple songs such as May Seem Macabre and Down Like Me. With Cool Off, they bring a more 80s feel into the mix, and it works. Black Book delivers that old school garage punk sound PB&J fans love. The last song of the album, I Know You Don’t Love Me, made for a strong finish; however some people may have checked out by the time the song picks up around 1:45. With simple lyrics and a steady march toward crescendo, the song ends at its very climax.
Peter Bjorn and John made a good album with Gimme Some. Their tactic? They told Spin Magazine that the days of writing and recording were fueled by alcohol, and lots of it. Sounds like a good method to me. The CD begs to be popped in on a bright summer day. None of the songs will be going down in history as anything spectacular, but there’s nothing really wrong with them either. Gimme Some surely won back the fans they lost with Living Thing, and it’s safe to say PB&J won some new fans with it as well. Will Gimme Some be on my playlist this summer? You better believe it.