The key to Gimme Some's success is the art of keeping things simple.
Michael Cragg 2011-03-29
Chances are if you happen to have a Peter Bjorn and John single on your iTunes it's 2006's Young Folks, a deliriously catchy, Victoria Bergsman-assisted indie anthem with added whistling solo. It was the moment the three titular Swedes (Peter Morén, Björn Yttling and John Eriksson) announced themselves to the mainstream (the song now appears in a Homebase advert). As quickly as they seemed to arrive, however, they were gone, with 2009's Living Thing album befuddled by an over reliance on early 80s drum machines and a general sense of melancholia.
Gimme Some, their first album to employ a producer in the shape of Per Sunding (The Wannadies, The Cardigans), brings back not only the guitars, but also a sense of fun that was missing from Living Thing. There's still a lot of heartache – the album's closer I Know You Don't Love Me makes that pretty plain – but on tracks like the vibrant, percussive Dig a Little Deeper and the breakneck garage pop of Breaker Breaker, they sound revitalised.
The key to Gimme Some's success is the art of keeping things simple. Melodically it's more direct, with sparkly guitar riffs (the yearning Eyes) and big, unabashed pop choruses (Second Chance, the early U2 stylings of May Seem Macabre). Throughout there are cute little production twists – the cowbell that pops up on Second Chance, the strange 'pings' that pepper Black Book, the way Dig a Little Deeper opens with a similar drum fill to Young Folks before a brilliantly off-kilter guitar riff emerges, complete with cooing "oh oh" harmonies. Whilst the lyrics still deal with broken hearts and scorned exes, the songs themselves rarely collapse under the weight of it all.
There are exceptions. Down Like Me is a slog, all chugging guitars and a chorus of "no-one brings me down like me" moping. It's not helped that it's then followed by Lies, a kind of garage-by-numbers love song that could soundtrack a fairly awful teen rom-com ("And I always did believe that you and me would always be, but now I ruined all").
Whilst Gimme More doesn't feature anything as catchy as Young Folks (few albums do, let's be honest), it's got a handful of tracks that will work brilliantly in a sun-dappled field come festival season. They seem to have stopped trying to subvert their pop nous and accept what they do best, and for the most part it works a treat.