Peter Bjorn & John - Gimme Some LP
Includes CD of album.
Almost Gold Records
Peter Bjorn and John had a typical indie rock reaction to the demands and trappings of success that “Young Folks” brought them. They went dark and weird, first recording an arty instrumental album, then returning with Living Thing, which was almost too experimental and abstract. They must have thought so, too, because on Gimme Some, things have brightened considerably, with arrangements dominated by guitars, plenty of uptempo tracks, and an overall energy that was missing from the last album. There are still a healthy amount of interesting arrangements and instrumental flourishes, but songs like the irrepressible "Dig a Little Deeper" or the cowbell-led "Second Chance" sound almost like a new band. Or how PB and J sounded on their first two albums, straightforward and punchy. They even throw in a couple new tricks, like the super-punky, super-short songs like the corrosive "Breaker Breaker" and "Black Book." Some credit could go to the producer, since for the first time the trio brought in an outsider, Per Sunding, to help craft their sound. More likely, they just wanted to make music that was fun again and they succeeded, even though the lyrics can be a little downcast at times. Definitely on the weary and self-hating “Down Like Me,” obviously, but it pops up elsewhere from time to time. That’s to be expected, though, since PB and J were never the cheeriest bunch to start with. They have a nice way with a melancholy ballad, and the beautifully restrained “May Seem Macabre” is one of the highlights of the album. Peter's vocals on that track, and the rest of the album, are stronger than ever, full of everyman soul and fire. He sings the bulk of the songs this time out, with Bjorn singing two and John chipping in on one. Despite this disparity, Gimme Some feels like result of a true collaboration this time. The photo of the band in the CD booklet shows three guys in a tight circle playing heads-down intense, and it feels like this camaraderie and dedication has paid off in a record that may not save their career commercially, but does prove that they are just as vital and exciting as ever.