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Peter, Bjorn & John - Living Things

Peter, Bjorn & John, Living Thing

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SWEDISH music makers Peter, Bjorn & John are the trio responsible for Young Folks, aka that whistling song. Forever ingrained upon our subconscious in a pleasant way, Young Folks is a classic feelgood record of timeless quality to rival the likes of OutKast’s Hey Ya. When you hear it, your mood instantly changes.

It also helped to put Peter, Bjorn & John on the global music map. Sweden was hip. Abba was forgotten. Everything was cool.

Even since then, of course, the trio have been trying to make themselves known for something other than that whistling song. Accompanying album, Writer’s Block won warm reviews, but can you name another single from it?

Well, you might… just might be able to name another Peter, Bjorn & John track after hearing their latest long-player, Living Thing.

A catchy collection of 12 tracks, it’s more experimental than the easy-going indie pop of Writer’s Block‘s most significant hit… but pretty darn good, too, and more in keeping with their propensity for exploring.

For those that don’t know, then, Peter, Bjorn and John is a band comprised of a “hardcore fusion” obsessive (John) and a jazz-pianist (Bjorn), which has always looked to inject a wilder, more playful undertow to their shiny pop surface.

Hence, lead single Nothing To Worry About kicks off amid a children’s chorus, before dropping a banging beat, hand-claps aplenty and a wonky slice of electronica that’s cool, fresh, lively and addictive. You’ll be gyrating those hips rather quickly.

It Doesn’t Move Me, another LP favourite, begins with a really emphatic organ loop, before dropping more snappy beats and synths around a catchy, kooky slice of Swede pop that’s vaguely reminiscent of the style of Lykke Li.

Album opener The Feeling is also a barnstorming entry point – drums crash like waves, there’s heavy distortion vibrating and, of course, shards of delicate beauty poking through the carefully controlled chaos.

Just The Past, meanwhile, thrives on its innocent disco charms, I’m Losing My Mind hints at the darker recesses of Depeche Mode early on, I Want You draws on Brit-pop style guitar riffs and some lush electronic beds to woo you with its easy-going romanticism, and Blue Period Picasso is the sort of electro-pop offering that would make the Pet Shop Boys and Robyn green with envy.

There are experiments that go slightly wayward, such as the lippy Lay It Down, which doesn’t quite work with its “hey shut the f**k up boy, you’re beginning to piss me off” intro… but even then, you might like to put it on, press play and crank up the volume whenever you’re feeling peeved and wanting to get some shouting off your chest!

Living Thing may lack that one signature track that’ll catapult them into the subconscious like Young Folks did, but it does prove that Peter, Bjorn & John are a cool and very likeable act whose music is worth following in whatever they do!

Download picks: The Feeling, It Don’t Move Me, Nothing To Worry About, Blue Period Picasso, I Want You!

Track listing:

  1. The Feeling
  2. It Don’t Move Me
  3. Just The Past
  4. Nothing To Worry About
  5. I’m Losing My Mind
  6. Living Thing
  7. I Want You!
  8. Lay It Down
  9. Stay This Way
  10. Blue Period Picasso
  11. 4 Out Of 5
  12. Last Night