Peter Bjorn and John ? Gimme Some (Cooking Vinyl)

March 19, 2011 by  

It’s been two years since Peter Bjorn and John delivered ‘Living Thing’. The album was an evolution of their sound, incorporating synths to a greater extent and relying less on guitars. With their latest effort Gimme Some, the band have ditched the majority of their experimentation and gone back to the tried and tested formula of their earlier works.

Guitars, percussion and and the icy tone of Peter’s vocals are the order of the day here. A good mix of varying themes are scattered throughout (compare the celebratory sound of ‘Tomorrow Has To Wait’ with the ruthless, take no prisoners anthem ‘Cool Off’) ranging from love to bitterness and everything in-between. Although the paired back use of various instrumentation on this album is clear to see, they approach new ground in the process.

The fast moving, punk sound of ‘Black Book’ roars past in just 1:36 invoking a guitar solo similar to influential punk band ‘The Damned’. With ‘Dig A Little Deeper’ they wear their influences on their sleeve, producing a percussive, sun soaked sound reminiscent of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’. The backing vocals here are brilliant (as they are throughout the album) and provide a great accompaniment. Lead single ‘Second Chance’ displays great pop sensibility for big anthemic pop/rock choruses and also utilizes the best use of a cowbell this year so far (something every listener likes to keep track of…)
This is really where Peter’s voice is at its best, sounding disheartened in the verses before declaring ‘You cant, cant, cant count on a second chance’ with determination.

Missteps are few and far between. ‘Eyes’, wile a nice enough pop song, floats by without really stamping its mark and ‘Breaker, Breaker’ clocking in at 1:39 fails to deliver enough in its short time and as a result is relegated to the dreaded league of ‘filler’.

With Gimme Some, PBJ manage to bring forward and streamline the sound of their 2005 album ‘Falling Out’ whilst displaying a mature level of song-writing that has been further explored on later albums, culminating in a beautifully poised album. ‘May Seem Macabre’ is a brilliant, meticulously put together track with instruments dropping in and out, flowing beautifully together and this is the best example of how their song-writing has improved vastly. Although there are points where I missed the more adventurous exploitations of songs like ‘It Don?t Move Me’ from ‘Living Thing’ or ‘The Chills’ from ‘Writers Block’ it stands as a very accomplished album. It lacks a song as universally loved as ‘Young Folks’ but it stands up as one of their best album to date.