Peter Bjorn and John
Startime International/Almost Gold)
It’s hard to figure out Peter Bjorn and John.
The Swedish band set the music world aflame with their 2007 album Writer’s Block, a fantastic blend of poppy hooks and melodies with the dangerously addictive single Young People.
The album hit like a party in progress and put the boys at the top of the list of Scandinavian bands making (new) waves across the pond.
Curious listeners who have waited breathlessly for a proper follow up — the band released a mostly instrumental album, Seaside Rock, in 2008 — will probably disappointed.
There’s nothing wrong with Living Thing.
It’s smart enough and chock full of interesting references. Problem is it’s not a lot of fun.
There are no soaring moments of joy from Peter Moren, Bjorn Yttling and John Eriksson like on Writer’s Block.
Lyrically, Moren seems bummed out. And musically, the album never achieves liftoff, perhaps chained to the ground by too many ideas.
Opener “The Feeling” seems ominous with it’s monotonous drumbeat and slow pacing.
It Don’t Move Me is an homage to the ever dour Depeche Mode.
Even the title track, with it’s bouncy bass line, fails to get the booty shaking — or even the toes tapping.
There are some fun moments here — Lay It Down, with its unprintable chorus, for instance.
And Peter Bjorn and John remain a band to watch because they’re smarter and more inventive than many of their contemporaries.
On the surface, Nothing to Worry About, is this year’s Young People. It’s catchy gimmick is a child’s chorus rather than the infectious whistle of its predecessor.
Though it’s bound to get plenty of play, it becomes a bit shrill on repeated listening.