By Chris Pacifico
In the shoestring budget, indie cult classic film The Anarchist Cookbook, a character named Johnny Red lists off myriad reasons why society is much better in Sweden than America. If only someone had put a copy of Writer's Block in his hand. The Stockholm-based trio of Peter Bjorn and John (Peter Moren, Bjorn Yttling and John Eriksson) trade instruments and vocal duties on their threadbare, yet spacious ditties, which weave together baroque splashes, lounge music, and generations of Euro-pop.
With its lucid, condensed melodies and majestic, yet sometimes frivolous instrumentation Writer's Block is a chic, shag carpet, AM pop ruse. "Amsterdam" seems fresh from MTV's salad days with its trotting percussion, robo chorus, and sticky organ lines. The layers of gusty white noise on "Objects of My Affection" are like a shoegazer Simon and Garfunkel, while "Young Folks" features a duet with Victoria Bergsman of The Concretes is a lazy, rainy day throwback to the Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra with its delicate array of a maraca shaking and delicate bongo pattering. "Chills" is a shell of sparkling keyboards and swishing beats that sounds like it could be played on an asthma inhaler. The nostalgic, pastoral pop of “Lets Call It Off” is where the trios Norse accents are thickest.
Everybody knows that supposedly Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon syncs up with the Wizard of Oz but I might have to try the same thing with Peter Bjorn and John's "Roll the Credits" and "Poor Cow" during the climatic scenes in Ingmar Bergman films. Just call it a hunch.
Ultimately, Writer's Block is a subtle pop milestone that's nothing less than rhapsodic.
JamBase | Sweden
Go See Live Music!