Peter Bjorn and John – Living Thing
I’d been fired up for Peter Bjorn and John’s latest release ever since I heard the two lead off singles about a month ago. Indeed an unpredictable group, this Stockholm trio has released their most innovative album yet with Living Thing a listening experience with surprises around every corner.
I’ve always found it striking that Peter Bjorn and John have never tried to associate themselves with any one defining sound. Instead they choose to continue experimenting with and approaching their music in different ways with each new album. I saw some of this on their breakthrough third album Writer’s Block but here they take that mentality to a new extreme. Living Thing draws inspiration from a whole slew of different genres including; Hip Hop, 80s Rock/Pop and Electronica/Dance music and though it’s not the most cohesive album, it certainly has a vast amount of compelling ideas and creative sounds.
At first “Nothing to Worry About” was the standout track in my mind. It’s got that infectious chorus of singing children and such a tight groove, it wasn’t hard for me to be won over by it’s hip hop inspired sing-a-long style. The album’s second single “Lay It Down” has definitely become my favorite track on the album. You might be taken aback by it’s raunchiness on a first listen but it’s just so catchy and poppy. Other highlights come around here and there in certain spots and moments. “Just the Past” is a relaxing beat machine driven number, while I enjoy the serene echoed guitar on “I Want You!”
I hear Peter Bjorn and John all contribute to writing the tunes and apparently all sing lead, as I’ve noticed some other vocals aside from Peter Moren leading various songs. All three members claim to be inspired by different types of music, revealing the answer to why no two songs sound alike and perhaps why this is my favorite Peter Bjorn and John album yet.
“Young Folks” became an indie smash a few years ago, but Peter Bjorn an John clearly didn’t let that get to their heads. Instead of trying to repeat the success of that single by replicating it’s sound, they’ve just gone forward doing whatever they want. I respect that kind of fearlessness so I’ve been fairly open to all of the unusual musical dabbling on Living Thing. This album is not for everyone but if your a fan of experimental Indie Pop than this might be right down on your ally
Favorite Tracks: “Blue Period Picasso”, “Lay it Down”, “Nothing to Worry About”