‘Gimme Some’ shows PB&J’s growth

Gimme Some,” the latest release by Swedish indie pop trio Peter Bjorn and John, is a record almost guaranteed to put you in a good mood.

From the playful title to the fadeout of final track “I Know You Don’t Love Me,” it’s an adventure in indie pop ingenuity, light on its feet but packed with attitude.

One of the most ambitious and startling steps this album takes is to distance PB&J from the experimental and electronic sound of prior records.

Opener “Tomorrow Has To Wait” starts off with singer Peter Moren belting out “I don’t think that you are sorry for what you did,” over a characteristic indie-rock guitar riff.

The feel-good sound continues with “Dig A Little Deeper,” where Moren’s voice soars to the intriguing line of “All art has been contemporary,” and “Second Chance,” a cowbell-laden anthem about making the most of things the first time around.

Although the style stays relatively consistent throughout, there is something to appreciate about nearly every song on the album.

“Gimme Some” hits its artistic high point with the duo of “Eyes” and “Breaker Breaker,” a pair of oddly complementary shorter songs. At its end, the first crumbles and segues into the next so seamlessly that the only indicator that a different song has started is the decided change in subject and tone.

In contrast to the more offhandedly romantic “Eyes,” “Breaker Breaker” packs a literal punch with some of the most amusing lines in the history of PB&J songwriting: “Before you break my heart,  I’m gonna break your nose and sing about it.”

While the lyrics don’t exhibit a whole lot of complexity, the band’s charm lies in their ability to animate and renew the stereotypical pop song with a tongue-in-cheek, facetious and often whimsical use of language.

The album slumps a little with “May Seem Macabre” and “Don’t Let Them Cool Off,” which are generic, standard-issue and repetitive at best. It picks up quickly with the robotic and wound-up minute, 35 seconds of “Black Book,” in which the band takes its experiment to a noisy art-rock level.

Remaining a conventional pop song while turning up the level of self-deprecation, there is “Down Like Me.” With the unsurprising chorus “No one brings me down like me,” it’s markedly more sober and less lighthearted than the rest.

Resisting the urge to slowly wind down toward the end, PB&J craftily sneak in “Lies,” one of the most lovable songs on the album. Similar to “Eyes,” it features Moren, emphatically and out of breath, admitting “No, I can’t tell lies to you.”

Because of the energy of most of the album, the final track catches you off-guard with its level tempo and the droning monotone of the verse. It finally intensifies into a repetition of “I know the reason why I know you don’t love me,” which, in combination with a series of buoyant “oohs” is bound to have the listener spinning in circles by the end.

Above all, “Gimme Some” is just plain fun, which ultimately makes it listenable in almost any state of mind.

While none of these tracks may match the catchiness of “Young Folks,” Peter Bjorn and John have doubtless mastered the technicality of creating the perfect pop song and expressing it through an overlap of musical genres.


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