A catchy song can cast a long shadow, said Dan Cairns in the London Times. Back in 2006, Peter Bjorn and John’s relentlessly upbeat “Young Folks” got skinny-legged hipsters and NPR nerds whistling along. Three years on, the song’s shadow “seems to be lengthening rather than fading.” On Living Thing, the band becomes “engaged in an endless attempt” to recapture the “musical simplicity” and infectious pop precision of that one hit.
While Writer’s Block swayed with pretty, wistful melodies, Living Thing is “skittering” synth-pop built on beats, said Matthew Shaer in The Boston Globe. Peter Bjorn and John have also replaced the music’s perkiness with a dark, “relatively muted synthesized thrum.” But their innate pop sensibility still shines through. From the “robot riffs” of “It Don’t Move Me” to the electro-twang of the title song, these Swedes prove that a good hook can translate into many styles.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 8 tricks to surviving the holidays without gaining weight or being grouchy
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- 17 old proverbs we should use more often
- Chuck Hagel wasn't the problem. It's America's addiction to endless war.
Subscribe to the Week