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Peter, Bjorn and John

Writers Block

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Writers Block
by: Jonathan Arber

Despite their jaunty "Young Folks" being nearly inescapable on the radio and at festivals this summer, the third album from Sweden's Peter, Bjorn and John barely caused a ripple on its release. Perhaps that's not too surprising, as "Young Folks" is by far the cheeriest thing on offer here, with suitably upbeat lyrics to match the bouncy whistled refrain and sugar-sweet vocals.

So then, The rest of the album delves into stranger territory, both lyrically and musically, combining deeply melancholic musings on the nature of love and loss (but mainly loss) with complex, overdriven soundscapes and off-kilter beats - not to mention whistling. That said, Peter and the boys obviously have a great ear for a pop melody, and Writer's Block is at its most effective when they marry this with tons of fuzz and distorted drums, as they do on album opener "Objects of my Affection". The most immediate comparison that springs to mind is The Jesus and Mary Chain, although Peter etc replace the Scottish miserablists' dour indifference with an altogether more wistful outlook.

Despite the trio mainly splitting writing duties, Writer's Block hangs together nicely as a lesson in indie-pop, with the lovelorn "Paris 2004" and plodding funk of "Amsterdam" both standouts. The disparate range of influences and sounds on offer is likely to put off anyone just looking for more like "Young Folks", but there's plenty of good stuff on offer here for those willing to give it a chance.