The Swedish Experiment
Performing since 1999, Peter Bjorn & John finally hit it big with their newest set of synth pop and upbeat rock with a Swedish twist. The warm welcome of Writer’s Block is a 15-second title track of beach sounds preceding quiet melodies, inviting listeners to eleven tracks of relaxed fun. Peter MorâˆšÂ©n, Bjorn Yttling, and John Erikson deliver good times through an eclectic mixture of instruments. Taking turns on vocals, guitars, keyboards, and percussion, they could each front their own bands individually. Thankfully, the guys instead generate a powerful force that at first listen may come off as simplistic.
Songs like “Start to Melt” take listeners back to the early pop era with a short but sweet declaration of affection. “Paris 2004” is an easygoing love song with a modest chorus: “I’m all about you / you’re all about me / we’re all about each other.” Yet, the band’s humble compositions are deceiving.
Breakout hit “Young Folks” landed spots on TV and helped Peter Bjorn & John land on many music charts. The successful formula of a bongo rhythm with a whistling melody featuring Victoria Bergsman of The Concretes shows just how badly the public wanted a cheerful anthem. “Object of My Affection,” meanwhile, has an unaffected style with complex language resting over a repeated musical theme.
On closer inspection one notes the detail and experimentation the band puts in every song. They toy with various rhythms, instruments and genres. “Amsterdam” almost has a hip-hop feel; “Roll the Credits” is like a soundtrack to an old silent film; “Poor Cow” is sparse folk. Unafraid to make each song vastly unique, Peter Bjorn & John hold Writer’s Block together with their bright personalities.