Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Peter, Bjorn, & John

Writer's Block


As fine an album as this might be (and indeed it is), it serves a much higher purpose for which it must be immediately recognised. The twee Swedish trio have single-handedly tugged whistling out of popular music's pits where it was stuffed by German soft metal granddads The Scorpions back in the early 90s. It's not even particularly proficient whistling – it's a bit skewiff really, a little out of tune – but it's tacked onto the irresistibly bobbing, Velvet-Underground-via-The-Concretes infectiousness of "Young Folks", augmented by the warm-ember vocals of ex-Concrete Victoria Bergsman herself, and by association sounds fairly heroic. Accidentally anthemic, perhaps, but anthemic nonetheless. Result. Which sets a tone for the rest of this off-kilter lo-fi record. Draw a slightly wonky line from Simon & Garfunkel through to The Shins, making sure you take in the sharp Scandinavian indie-pop of the '90s (Wannadies, The Cardigans) and modern day peers (Radio Dept, Shout Out Louds) and you have a folk album that isn't really all that folk, swimming through its own dreamy washes of ambition. The drumming on tracks like "Let's Call It Off" and "Paris 2004" is so elementary you might as well add your own, but it keeps the intuitive, simplistic 60's beat melodies trickling steadily onwards. The underlying appeal is that things could snap like an elastic band at any moment, that things are beautifully limited. Less writers block, more loving the detail of your first chapter so much you have no inclination to move on. --James Berry

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