Peter Bjorn And John Gimme Some
Coupled with the grabby album title, the three-thumbed severed hand on the cover of Gimme Some suggests that the latest from Peter Bjorn And John might cut a little deeper than the frothy pop songs for which the Swedish trio is best known. Sure enough, there’s a song called “Dig A Little Deeper,” where singer Peter Morén urges complacent artists everywhere to, well, dig a little deeper. But he doesn’t really take his own advice. Gimme Some is a breezy, risk-averse collection of genre impersonations—terse surf punk on “Breaker Breaker,” an uncanny homage to Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” on “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off”—that conjure no emotions beyond amusement. On the best tracks, like the conga-driven “Dig A Little Deeper,” the amusement is considerable. The band’s old, melancholic nuance reappears briefly when Morén sanguinely imagines his own funeral on “May Seem Macabre,” and when the tamped-down krautrock of “I Know You Don’t Love Me” blossoms into a kaleidoscope of harmonies. But Gimme Some is retreat to light-hearted pop after the coolly received electro experiments of 2009’s Living Thing. The style suits them, even when the substance is lacking.