January 6, 2011

Song Review: Peter Bjorn and John's "Lies"

What's to say about Peter Bjorn and John's current relevance when their newest album leaks three months well in advance before details are formally announced and the Internet doesn't even bat an eyelash? AwkwardSound completely forgot the Swedish indie pop trio was even working on something new, never mind that it was in the bank and ready to go. Alas, modern technology has foiled PB&J's return to the scene and the preemptive strike will likely counteract any buzz waiting to be built in the coming months. You see, the trio became an unexpected success story with the catchy whistle riff on their 2006 hit, "Young Folks." With the right combination of commercial placements, being used as background music in then-influential mega TV hit Grey's Anatomy, a praising Pitchfork album review and regular rotation on radio stations everywhere, PB&J became one of alternative rock's brightest talents. Those expectations quickly lowered however on their 2009 follow-up, Living Thing, which saw the three Swedes hacking into the Depeche Mode back catalog and unsuccessfully attempting to make their sound into something much bigger. The good news is that for one of the songs supposedly off their forthcoming album, Gimme Some, "Lies" is a style of Peter Bjorn and John that will get them back a few listeners. Think of it as PB&J with an injection of power pop garage spunk à la The Nerves and The Ramones as sung through Peter Morén's scratchy accent-laden vocals. "Lies" may be a befuddling back-to-basics approach on their part but the shift away from making "big" music makes sense. Peter Bjorn and John were and will always be a personable indie pop band rather than one who plays to tens of thousands inside an arena. It's comforting to hear that even they're aware of their limitations.

Peter Bjorn and John - "Lies"

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