Archive for the ‘peter bjorn and john’ Category

Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block (2007)

November 14, 2007

After being captured by the deceivingly somber “Amsterdam” by Peter, Bjorn and John this past summer, I was thrilled to be able to listen to the Swedish pop band’s Writer’s Block, their third full-length release. 

The group has a humble, down-to-Europe demeanor in which they subtly insert interesting instrumentation in an ever-so-slightly experimental fashion (“instruments” include the thundersheet, the whip, and “oral sounds”). Sometimes fast, restless and rather insatiable drumming contrasts with mellow whistling, almost shoegazer-esque guitar and reverb-laden, resounding vocals to represent the possible conflict between subconscious anxiety amidst laid-back, usually nonchalant lyrics. Here’s a trio of guys yearning for ideal romanticism and thus come off as epicurean in their wariness to work through rough spots in their relationships: “When you decided to knock on my door did you remember what happened before? It just didn’t sparkle, it just didn’t grow; some things look better inside of the store” (“Let’s Call it Off”) or “let’s take the easy way out” (“Roll the Credits”).

However, the lyrics are not overly-weighty. They are often simplistically romantic: “While I’m sleeping, you paint a ring on my finger with your black marker-pen” (“Paris 2004”). Writer’s Block dwells and thrives upon fantastical ideals and the everyday situations which sometimes live up to them but so frequently do not, creating an ultimately dreary tone. 

Nevertheless, the album comes off as brilliant in its insidious gloom, especially if the listener is well-adapted to this sort of music in the first place. The musical highlights have to be the popular indie single “Young Folks” and the aforementioned “Amsterdam,” but the band might be trying to make its biggest lyrical statement in the album-closer “Poor Cow”: “I want to spend, in a never-ending story, but it always ends.”

-Jake Kauffman

Listen to Peter Bjorn and John on Myspace