Everyone has his or her guilty musical pleasure. Often it’s an absurdly popular song or singer with mass audience appeal which makes them far too obvious a choice for you, the discerning listener. At least that’s your public take on the issue. Fact of the matter is, when you’re wearing you ear buds no one knows what’s helping you burn those calories on the elliptical. Well, I say throw away that attitude and embrace the ridiculously catchy pop stylings of Sweden’s Peter, Bjorn and John. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
The trio first caught our attention with the 2006 album Writer’s Block and the whistling single “Young Folks.” After a detour to the darker, experimental side with Living Thing, the boys are back with sunny melodies and joyful harmonies. The band, Peter Morén (guitar/harmonica), Björn Yttling (bass/keyboards), and John Eriksson (drums/percussion), have, for the first time, employed an outside producer for Gimme Some. Their choice, Per Sunding, was a member of Eggstone, a now defunct band that was once dubbed “The Godfather’s of Swedish pop.” It would seem the band was intent on getting back to those sweet pop sounds that won them worldwide attention.
The first single suggests the band has found their way back to the insanely catchy pop of their first hit. “Second Chance” is one of those songs that grabs your attention on first listen and gets you singing along by the second chorus thanks to a well-baited hook. “Tomorrow Has To Wait” and “Dig a Little Deeper" reels you in with that same casual ease. These songs are just so damned easy to hum even if it’s not your intention to do so. The band and Sunding create great melodies stripping away excess and focusing on the basics. John Eriksson stated “our goal this time was to make a classic punk-rock/power-pop album. The only rule we made before recording Gimme Some was to make an album that didn’t need any other sounds than Guitar, Bass, Drums and Vocals.” If that sounds a bit like Vampire Weekend, another band that excels at infectious melodies, you won’t be surprised by the tracks “May Seem Macabre,” and “Eyes” which are influenced by similar World-beat rhythms and jangling guitar lines.
The band introduces edgier elements on the punk influenced “Black Book” which is propelled by staccato guitar and nasty, aggressive lyrics. “Breaker Breaker” slams along at 1:37 and displays the kind of attitude Morrissey brought to early Smiths’ songs. If you listen closely you’ll also hear the inspiration of Smith guitarist Johnny Marr and, from time to time, a touch of early R.E.M..
As summer approaches and you’re looking for the right music to blast from your car speakers or at your picnic parties, proudly pop in Peter, Bjorn and John’s Gimme Some and share the pleasures of giddy pop happiness.