Peter Bjorn and John
Peter Bjorn and John are a trio from Sweden. Anyone who’s kept up with my recent reviews knows what the “s” word means to me, as far as indie pop goes and the standards with which I judge music from those parts. What these boys lack in grammar adherence they more than make up for with classic pop songwriting. Culling melodies from such stalwarts as The Beatles and Elvis Costello could lead a band head-first into cliché and irrelevance, but Peter Bjorn and John temper the well-known with the willfully obscure, like the Speak & Spell burbling undercurrent on “Far Away, By My Side.” The rest of the disc is much more straightforward than this track, but, as always, the pop is distilled to Scandinavian perfection. The most uncharacteristic moment appropriately comes with a fiery cover of The Concretes’ “Teen Love,” when the baroque framing of the album comes crashing down. It’s quickly built up again and enhanced on the string-filled outro and maddeningly good chorus of the aptly-named “Tailormade.” Hidden Agenda has another winner here.