it’s a fraction of the whole, but it’s hard to control

Peter Bjorn and John played a set outside the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wisconsin on August 26th with JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and Nick Nice. Click on any photo below to see more from PB&J.

i don’t want to make you interested, i just want to make you the only one

Do you remember being about thirteen and “discovering” The Clash and Elvis Costello and T. Rex and all those other bands that had been around long before you came into the world and hearing them and obsessing over them and letting them consume nearly every aspect of your life? That seemingly just happened to Peter Bjorn & John, and the result is Gimme Some.

An explosion of high energy, the songs on Gimme Some make no bones about playing off their influences, whether they be intentional or not. “Eyes” embraces the trend of beach jams while putting down roots in the 80s with a drumbeat that’s strikingly similar to that of “Footloose”. “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off” is borne out of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream”. The happily bopping “Dig A Little Deeper” is where Paul Simon and They Might Be Giants meet, worldbeat pairing with quirky a-ha lyrics – “all art has been contemporary.”

Lead single “Second Chance” is incredibly catchy for not being all that poppy. While it’s not quite the unstoppable ear worm that “Young Folks” was, it’s their most memorable output since.

The most surprising track on Gimme Some is “May Seem Macabre”. The combination of new-wavey instrumentals, charmingly wonky ESL lyrics, and the should-be-from-the-title-but-not-at-all-expected subject matter makes one want to go back and do an aural double-take. The lyrics appear fairly standard at first, maybe depicting a lazy morning of laying in the sheets. Then comes the ¬†line “they’ve done their best to make us go in style.” It takes a second for it to click, and then you realize the whole first verse is about being prepared for burial. The dark twistiness of it all is tempered by the sweet hopefulness of the music and ends up being a standout track.

Gimme Some drops 03.29.11.
Check out their website here.