...It's rather like a well-made gateau; perfect at the right time of the day, but too...
Daryl Easlea 2007
Following the recent success of Peter Bjorn And John's third album, Writer's Block and especially the track, ''Young Folks'', Peter Moren's duet with Victoria from the Concretes, we are now treated to the release of the Swedish trio's early work. This is their zingy and springy 2002 debut, bolstered by b-sides and additional material.
Recorded at bassist Bjorn Yttling's apartment in Stockholm, it's crammed with well-written songs that feel both nostalgic and strangely of the moment. Beatles and Elvis Costello comparisons abounded on its Swedish release; at least 33% of the group (drummer and multi-instrumentalist John Eriksson) had never even heard either of them. Whatever, this is sparkling, if occasionally flawed, pop.
The two-minute fury of “Matchmaker” is a blast; “A Mutual Misunderstanding” has dappled echoes of Squeeze; the open guitar tunings on “Collect, Select, Reflect” create great warmth. However, these are trailers for the stand-out ballad “From Now On”. From its downbeat piano opening, it expands into a spaghetti western symphony – crammed with stunning ambition despite its technical limitations.
As Moren states on the sleeve, "this is a child's steps, charming, but stumbling." It’s as if Elvis Costello had stayed on F-Beat or XTC stuck at Black Sea sprinkled with a little Neil Finn magic. However, despite its numerous lovely touches, it's rather like a well-made gateau; perfect at the right time of the day, but too much will make you queasy and spotty. But then again, I love gateau.