Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John proved every advertising executives’ dream with their breakthrough hit “Young Folks” in 2006. The cozy jumper in the indie-pop wardrobe, with its perfectly pitched mix of catchy yet inoffensive hooks, remains a testament to the group’s knack for creating a memorable melody. The tune remains an anthem of choice for this generation’s middle-ground half a decade later. Yet as the trio’s decidedly more experimental and controversial album Living Thing showed, they are not content to merely tread water in their comfortable niche. Now back with their sixth album Gimme Some, the band again embraces their pop sensibilities along with a newfound garage-rock aesthetic.
Though originally intended as a punk album, Gimme Some lacks the bite to be a true fit in the genre. However, the strong points of the album lie in its energetic sub-three minute workouts. Songs “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off”, with its infectious call-and-response chorus, and “Breaker Breaker”, with its condensed intensity of the drumming, demonstrate this vivacious punk sentiment. Tracks such as “Eyes” and “Dig A Little Deeper” cement Peter Bjorn and John’s standing as veterans of the jaunty indie-pop sound. Still, the delicate nuances of the guitar work and the carefully dirtied-up bass coursing through Gimme Some gives the album a depth in sound beyond much of their previous efforts.
Gimme Some lacks the quirkiness of Writer’s Block, so there’s no chance for a big hit like “Young Folks”. It’s not quite lo-fi enough to be truly rock and roll and it also suffers from ultimately forgettable vocals. Perhaps the addition of a female voice — an element that proved a successful formula in the past — would have given the album more impact. While Gimme Some is by no means pushing the limits of originality, it is one of the most outright fun and pretense-less rock records of the year so far.