Peter Morén — the singer and guitarist of Peter Bjorn & John fame — says that with his last two solo releases he found a new freedom in writing and singing entirely in his native Swedish for the first time. Morén’s songs on 2010’s I spåren av tåren and 2012’s Pyramiden, explored new influences like soul, New Wave, and even Brazilian rhythms, while retaining many of PB&J’s core calling cards — namely, the infectious pop hooks and his familiar Lennon-esque voice. But lyrically, he was able to tackle more Swedish-leaning politics and cultural references that he couldn’t do as easily in English.
One of the things that everyone seemed to forget when discussing Peter Bjorn And John’s breakout album Writer’s Block was it’s conciseness. When you boiled down the glockenspiels and whistling that made “Young Folks” such a monstrous, ubiquitous hit, the songs on that record were lean, simple and melodically memorable. The song structures were just innately well crafted and clean, something their follow up, Living Thing was absolutely not. That record was drowned out by needless electronic layers and bloated synths — they went big when they probably should’ve gone smaller.
Well with their newest record Gimme Some, the band seems to have returned somewhat to form. The songs aren’t nearly as tight and catchy as on Writer’s Block, but they’ve definitely pared down the flabbiness and sheen. The best example of this is the impossibly short, perfectly constructed “Breaker Breaker.” The song is a minute and 38 seconds, yet it feels fully thought out and a powerful burst of British Invasion rock and punk rock energy.
The video for this song also brilliantly captures the fury, the speed and explosive nature of the song — in a way that makes you sit and try to figure out how they made it (film in slow motion and speed it up so it’s in sync?) Bands don’t seem to do songs this short anymore because let’s face it, it’s freaking hard to do. So bully for Peter Bjorn & John. They’ve pulled it off and outdone themselves in the process.