Scandinavian indie rockers Peter Bjorn and John enjoy another round of stateside success with their new album, Gimme Some.
When the Stockholm-based indie-pop trio Peter Bjorn and John first caught on in the United States — thanks in large part to the viral success of their whistle-enriched 2006 single “Young Folks” — many stateside observers grouped the band with a handful of other Swedish acts turning American heads at the time. (Think El Perro Del Mar and the Concretes, whose Victoria Bergsman provided “Young Folks” with its sleepy-sexy female vocal.) Turns out PB&J received similar treatment at home.
“In Sweden, we get lumped in with other Swedish bands that are most successful in places other than Sweden,” says Peter Morén, relaxing with bandmates Bjorn Yttling and John Eriksson in a dressing room at Conan O’Brien’s show shortly before they tape a performance of “Second Chance,” the lead single from their brand-new LP, Gimme Some (StarTime International, $13). In typically Scandinavian fashion, Morén is magnanimous about the situation. “Sweden is a small country,” he figures. “Everyone can’t be popular.”
Sweden’s loss is our gain: Gimme Some is a tidy blast of fuzzy guitar pop that shows off the trio’s persistent flair for instantly memorable melodic hooks. (Don’t play “Dig a Little Deeper” unless you’re prepared to hum it all day.) Yttling says the group used “less-obvious tricks on this album” than they did on 2009’s Living Thing, which had a darker, more synth-based sound. “We tried not to confuse as much,” he adds with a laugh.
Peter Bjorn and John will spend most of 2011 on the road supporting Gimme Some, including a swing through the U.S. that wraps May 14 at L.A.’s El Rey Theatre. Many European acts burn out while attempting to break the States, but Morén says “the concerts here are more interesting every year.” He’s even looking forward to the hours (and hours) of preshow downtime, saying, “We’re constantly getting better at hanging out.”