CD Review: Gimme Some [2011]

Peter Bjorn and John
Release: 3/2011
Label: Wichita Recordings

1. “Tomorrow Has To Wait” – A
2. “Dig A Little Deeper” – A
3. “Second Chance” – A-
4. “Eyes” – A-
5. “Breaker Breaker” – A
6. “May Seem Macabre” – B
7. “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off” – A
8. “Black Book”- B+
9. “Down Like Me” – A-
10. “Lies” – A+
11. “I Know You Don’t Love Me” – A

Comments: Peter Bjorn and John have been around for more than a decade and, after many a pop song, have established themselves as an upper-echelon independent band. Their big break as you all may remember was Writer’s Block from 2006 which won ubiquitously positive reviews. It’s a personal favorite of mine. On that record was their biggest hit, the whistle hooked “Young Folks.” Their experimental follow-up came in 2009 with Living Thing, which was reviewed in the mainstream with far less enthusiasm and much more mixed feeling than Writer’s Block. My feeling is that critics weren’t expecting the band to make as much of a departure as they did from standard rock and roll. I actually really enjoyed Living Thing, which was still PB&J at its core, just with a bunch of electronic stuff thrown in the mix. Gimme Some is not really a return to their old style of songwriting, but more of an evolution towards unchartered territory. On this album, backing vocals and involved guitar riffs and parts are more dominate than ever before I’d say. I wouldn’t have expected PB&J to veer into a garage-pop/punk direction, but they do pretty nicely on “Breaker Breaker” and “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off”. The power-pop of “Lies” is real good! If they have another brush with b-level ‘fame’, I’d like to think it will be because of this song.  Pretty sure I just said this, but they really never have played as fast as they do here! It’s awesome. Gimme Some initially lacks that ‘oohhh shit!!’ element that Writer’s Block has. That was almost a concept album, though. It ran the gamut of musical emotions. This is more of a variety platter, but one that has a little bit of all of the ‘good stuff’. It’s like ordering a pu pu platter that comes with a bunch of tasty items like chicken wings, fingers, and ribs and some other stuff that is edible, but not the greatest by any stretch.

Grade: A- (92)