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Peter Morén, Björn Yttling and John Erikkson are the three men from Northern Sweden who began making music in 1999 under the name Peter, Bjorn and John.
One of the year's most misleadingly titled releases, Writer's Block is by far the most studiously crafted of Peter Bjorn and John's three full-lengths. Channeling romanticized 60s U.S. pop through the D.I.Y. filter of 80s New Zealand indie rock, the Stockholm trio's songs are more charmingly inventive here than ever: "Young Folks" fashions bongos and whistling into an elastic groove that's simultaneously soaring and navel-gazing; "Start to Melt" lays guitars and distortion like brick and mortar; "Let's Call It Off" shuffles on a floor tom/handclap beat and a goofily catchy chorus; and every last note sounds basted in liberal doses of reverb. So PB&J aren't fooling anyone with that title: Writer's Block evokes a sense of crippled creativity without falling victim to it, capturing the feeling of being uncomfortable in your own skin and wanting to be anywhere but wherever you are.
--Stephen M. Deusner
PitchforkMedia's Top 50 Albums of 2006 (#24)
01. Writer's Block I still do not understand the need for an Intro track. At least this one is short and quiet, unlike many.
02. Objects of My Affection The music on this track has a very righteous, hold-your-head-high feel to it. It is nice when someone comes into our life and makes a positive impact. If you're looking for a song to reflect that, look no further.
03. Young Folks Young Folks is probably the best-known single from the trio. Featuring Victoria Bergsman (until recently of The Concretes), this song is regarded as one of the best of 2006 (Pitchfork #5). The lyrics on most of the album are incredibly charming and profound. This song is an excellent example of that.
04. Amsterdam "Baby went to Amsterdam..." I can't help it; I love this song. It is admittedly not as good as Young Folks, but it is my guilty pleasure track on this cd. For some reason I enjoy the non-challance of the song as it is sung very matter-of-factly.
05. Start to Melt I am not a huge fan of the noisy, screechy feel of this one. It is hard to understand, and not my favorite track, but at least it is short at just over 2 minutes.
06. Up Against the Wall I love the duality of this song. The pleading lyrics against the upbeat percussion gives you two ways to listen to this song. You can opt for the drums and bob your head or for the lyrics, but be careful you might find yourself singing along unexpectedly.
07. Paris 2004 This is a simple little song which chronicles the end of a trip and its immediate aftermath for two lovers. Not a lot happens, but they certainly emphasize the feelings they have for each other. If it were a little less repetitive I would really enjoy this song.
08. Let's Call It Off With such a wide variety of musical influences on the album, this is the song that I feel is most closely linked to Young Folks from an instrumental perspective. Lyrically they take us down a different path as they turn the page to a relationship that just didn't work out. This is a good song which works well on this album, but with this subject matter it might be hard to find a place for it on a mixtape.
09. The Chills There is a bizarrely psychadelic cloud hanging over this song that makes it almost ridiculous to listen to. I like how they added the echo element to the vocals, though. Somehow I still kind of like this song.
10. Roll the Credits This song weighs in at nearly 7 minutes long and has an instrumental intro that goes for almost one minute. With such drawn out feel, I would expect this song to actually end the disc. All of the fun and enthusiasm that went into the rest of the album was left out of this song. Place it at the end of the album so I can turn it off missing other tracks in the exchange.
11. Poor Cow This isn't the best song on the album, but it definitely doesn't deserve to be buried behind the track before it. I can't imagine that I would ever go to this song directly, but if it came on shuffle, I probable would not turn it off, unless I was doing anything that required any energy.
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