Peter, Bjorn & John
Writers Block is the third album from this Swedish power-pop trio and its summer release could brighten up many a cheery bbq or dinner party. Young Folks is the obvious single here; it's a jovial little number featuring Concretes vocalist Victoria Bergsman. Somehow it manages, by the skin of its teeth, to remain on the right side of cheesy-we're-as-happy-as-The Magic Numbers-pop, but treads a very fine line. The whole album tends to tread this path, never crossing the line but coming dangerously close on occasions.
Up Against The Wall starts off this way but then seems to drift off into almost New Order territory with the last 4 minutes taken up by a glorious beat/guitar instrumental. This really picks the album up only to be dashed by the appalling Paris 2004. I would like to amend my earlier statement about how they never quite cross the line into Magic Numbers stomach churning happiness. They cross it here with the chorus "I'm all about you, you're all about me, we're all about each other." Thankfully this doesn't herald a halftime descent into puke, and we resume proceedings with The Cure-sounding Lets Call It Off and the even more Cure sounding The Chills. This obvious influence is not a criticism and it works very well creating 2 of the more interesting tracks on the album.
This isn't a bad piece of work. It's one of those records that demonstrate such clear influences but as those influences come from great sources it tends to work. But at the end of the day, the fact that they are so glaringly obvious is their ultimate undoing.