Review : Peter Bjorn And John - Seaside Rock
GuardianWot, no whistling from the 'Young Folks' trio? Instead, there are seagulls, glockenspiels and steel drums as the three Swedes trip back in time to their school orchestra days. Ever wondered what 'the instrumental soundtrack to the lonely childhood of northern Scandinavia' might say about your life? Wait till you hear 'Norrlands Riviera', the best thing Belle and Sebastian never did. Blissful....full text
PitchforkmediaPeter Bjorn and John are known for crafting shimmery, lovelorn pop songs, so the idea of the mild-mannered Swedish rockers recording an instrumental (ish) album isn't really so far-fetched. As evocative as the lyrics often are on 2006's Writer's Block, the bongo drums and whistled hook on "Young Folks" (to name just the group's most well-known track) spoke to listeners around the world in ways words never could. Since then, PB&J's Björn Yttling has produced some very good records in his own right, including Lykke Li's Youth Novels, Shout Out Louds' Our Ill Wills, and Taken By Trees' Open Field. Meanwhile, Peter Morén-- the band's most distinguished lyricist-- fell comparatively flat this year with a solo album.
Still, the best parallel to the limited-edition Seaside Rock comes from not the trio's own Stockholm, but over on the west coast of Sweden. There, in 2006, Gothenburg electropop duo the Tough Alliance followed their Swedish hit debut, The New School, with a limited edition release of a similarly instrumental(-ish) LP called Escaping Your Ambitions-- an ambient voyage through the nature sounds and aquatic sonic imagery that had already become a "thing" in their seaside city's scene. It would give the band an escape from the burdens (self-imposed and otherwise) of the dreaded sophomore album. Likewise, on Seaside Rock, PBJ's Morén, Yttling, and John Eriksson delay the inevitable pressures of following up Writer's Block with an album of dreamy, morning-after beach-party comedowns all their own, to mixed success....full text
MusicomhWith Young Folks still all over TV documentaries and UK radio, Peter Bjorn and John have a job on their hands breaking free of its clutches. Anyone paying careful attention since then, mind, will have found themselves recently rewarded with Peter Morén's solo album and now Seaside Rock.
This is a largely instrumental affair, which is a shame in the sense that Morén doesn't get to add his wistful vocals, yet the ten tracks that have made the cut are mostly rewarding.
It's definitely a case of less is more where instrumentation is concerned, however - opener Inland Empire draws Lynchian parallels in its title but fails to fully ignite, despite an increasingly raucous, bluesy guitar. Likewise Next Stop Bjursele, which, despite a promising folk riff, doesn't get itself fully off the blocks. Erik's Fishing Trip, meanwhile is well crafted, but suffers from an over prominence of the spoken word....full text
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