photos by Jim Bennett
Formed in 1999, Peter Bjorn and John are a trio hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. The band didn’t gain notoriety outside of Europe until their 2006 release Writer’s Block shot them to indie stardom with hits like “Young Folks,” “Up Against the Wall,” and “Let’s Call it Off”. “Young Folks” made whistling hip again and became a ubiquitous pop sensation, appearing on film, television and even videogame soundtracks.
Their early releases garnered some European attention as well. PB&J recorded their 2002 self-titled release themselves, to much acclaim from British audiences, with many critics prognosticating Swedish pop as the Next Big Thing in music.
While the title of their hit album implies they suffer from lack of inspiration, the trio is intent on proving otherwise. In 2008, they released their fourth full length record, Seaside Rock, and 2009 will see the release of their fifth album titled Living Thing at the end of March.
Seaside Rock proved to be quite a departure from the easily digested pop that made them famous in the states. Gone are the effervescent pop hooks and constant drum cadence and in their place are experimental soundscapes and tape loops with the occasional foreign tongue speaking on top of it all. But if this track from their forthcoming LP is any indication of the sound they’ve decided pursue, we can all breathe a sigh of relief as PB&J seemingly return to what made them so infectious in the first place: catchy pop songs with just enough European charm.
The trio will play several shows in Europe after SXSW followed by a full U.S. tour including Northwest music festival Sasquatch this summer.