The candy-coloured severed hand giving a triple thumbs up on the cover of the latest Peter, Bjorn and John album aptly sums up the tone of their sixth album, Gimme Some. Repressed anger seethes through sweet pop melodies in a sugary take on passive aggression reminiscent of the Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart-written Monkees tracks (particularly on the nasty little pop song Breaker Breaker).
The album could be read as an attack on a former lover, a producer, a fellow musician… or an attack on the songwriters themselves. With its tribal beat and plaintive lyrics, opening track Tomorrow has to Wait is the most powerful of the songs. Dig a Little Deeper and the rockier Black Book both seem to be about know-it-all power trippers, and ideas about self-control, unwanted consequences, death and infidelity run throughout the eleven tracks. The song Second Chance encapsulates these ideas with a catchy dance beat underpinning the lyrics “the second try will never come round”.
May Seem Macabre is less interesting musically but appears to be a romantic gothic scene of the protagonist’s funeral with his girlfriend… until the biting last line “to have you there makes leaving seem fair”. Seventh track (Don’t Let Them) Cool Off falters a little with awkward rhymes but the album still has more bile to cough up, with lines like “I can do everything you do, just a little bit worse” and “no one brings me down like me”. Pulp meets Chris Knox on the self-depreciating Lies, and the album comes to a close with the forlorn I Know You Don’t Love Me.
Gimme Some traverses some dark subject-matter with the jaunty swagger you’d expect from a band where all three members are credited on the liner notes for “hand claps”.
Kathryn van Beek
Click here to listen to Second Chance from Gimme Some: