Peter Bjorn and John
Writer's Block


4.0
excellent

Review

by Arjun USER (19 Reviews)
March 22nd, 2007 | 25 replies | 7,256 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sweden must be a fascinating place.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

The progression of our beloved genre has been pockmarked with events and music that, to a large extent, has been the creation of dynamic imaginations, often fragile sensibilities and Death Cab For Cutie. But what happens when the lexicon that they strive so hard to create, suddenly faces a brooding reality where extremes of opinion decide whether something is worth trying or not? Writer's block?

Peter Moren, Bjorn Yttling and John Eriksson bring us an LP that sees them exploring new soundscapes, experimenting with already diverse styles and delivering a very, very classy record. The trio from Stockholm break the notions of genre definition with a confident album that is indie-everything and has seen a lot of mainstream success as well. It's funny because all through the record, you don't really care to 'fit' it in.

With Writer's Block, the trio have broken new ground for themselves. Lighter, more subtle arrangements replace the 'bigger' sound, and yet seem to deliver just as much. It's not as much stripped-down as it is a band showing themselves in a yellow light, exposing what they are with such poise, it's hard to look at them with the disapproving eyes we're so ready to adopt. The album, therefore, finds its place in an adroit corner where, after one listen, you don't really expect it to excite or surprise, but more enjoy a beautiful piece of music.

Writer's Block is about love; two lovers finding themselves overwrought with a precise feeling of, well, love. Of course, this usually leads to heavy cheese-iness, and sometimes in this album, you will find the requisite amount of romantic yarn. "I'm all about you, you're all about me, we're all about each other" croons Moren in Paris 2004. Yes, it's cheesy, but their description of two lovers' daily activity could not have been phrased without as mushy a chorus as this.

The stand-out is definitely the superbly catchy Young Folks, a song that deserves all the hype it has got and still gets. Andrew Bird's whistle has a run for its money with the intro, and the ensuing, almost Beatles-esque, pop fantasy is a fascinating conversation between Moren and Victoria Bergsman (The Concretes). Bergsman's part is inspiring enough to pick up the entire Concretes catalogue (two albums and a bunch of singles).

The album follows the lovers through the good times, and thankfully, the bad. Both sides of the story are engaging and they steer clear of being banal by doing the one thing a lot artists are quickest to forsake - be honest. You can hear it in the lyrics and the simple arrangements that make this album what it is. The guitars are bluesy and not 'obstructive', in the sense that they aren't choppy or angular. Eriksson's percussion is flawless except on The Chills where his rolls and the shh-shh-shh just don't complement each other. It's a mistake rarely made, and easily forgiven.

There's enough in this album to have your attention through the 45 or so minutes. From the Christmassy rhythm of Roll The Credits to the infectious drumming on the album opener Objects Of My Affection. The only place where the trend is broken is on the surprisingly mundane Amsterdam, a song that seems terribly out of place in what is very frankly, one of the most consistent records of the last two years.

The album ends with the 'happily melancholic' Poor Cow. A fitting way to complete an enchanting record. Triumphantly Moren proclaims "It always ends" and though the love story has, as he tells us, reached its final breath, one can't wait for the next time it starts. Till then, hit 'Repeat'.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
March 22nd 2007



4827 Comments


Pretty good review, I don't quite get what your talking about with the opening paragraph though..
The single from this was good, as was the video. Yttling is a pretty strange name

Sepstrup
March 22nd 2007



1563 Comments


I just ordered their two other albums used.

MrKite
March 22nd 2007



5020 Comments


I really like Young Folks.

radianteclipse
March 23rd 2007



397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I heard young folks on mtv2 the other day...it was extremely catchy and I had to download the rest of the album. Overall, it's a very interesting album. Not bad at all.

paperslut
March 23rd 2007



54 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ The Jungler - Essentially I'm talking about indie music and what an artist must go through in his/her process of making it. And yes, Yttling is a very strange name indeed.

sgrevs
March 23rd 2007



698 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm so glad someone reviewed this, its an amazing album. Good job on the review, too.

I agree with what you said about Amsterdam being out of place, but that doesn't detract from the fact that its an amazing song. And it upsets me that you didn't say anything about Let's Call It Off, probably my favourite song on the album after Young Folks.

samthebassman
March 23rd 2007



2164 Comments


Everything I have heard is excellent.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2007



15732 Comments


Young Folks is great, though all I've heard.

Dragon_Prince
May 14th 2007



272 Comments


I am starting to like this.

handsomerob2
May 28th 2007



58 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Young Folks is the best song on the album and also possibly one of the best new songs I've heard in a while.

La Revolucion
May 28th 2007



1060 Comments


Such a good album, but these guys are extremely boring live.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2007



15732 Comments


Their video for Young Folks is awful.

711
May 28th 2007



1341 Comments


But the song is really good.

Neoteric
August 17th 2007



3243 Comments


"Young Folks" is the best song of 2006.

blackmilk
August 17th 2007



584 Comments


It's just too bad that the majority of the other songs on this album are a snooze.

Neoteric
August 17th 2007



3243 Comments


Doesn't matter.

blackmilk
August 17th 2007



584 Comments


Oh yeah, I forgot that this wasn't a review on Writer's Block.

Neoteric
August 17th 2007



3243 Comments


Well it is, but the other songs don't take away how good Young Folks is.

blackmilk
August 17th 2007



584 Comments


Did I say anything about the other songs taking away from the quality of "Young Folks"?

martha005
August 24th 2007



6 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh man, give Amsterdam another listen. It's as good or better than Young Folks. "Oh, it's some kind of stupid rule that you can't ignore." Good stuff.



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