12 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Stockholm’s Peter Morén, Björn Yttling, and John Eriksson formed this indie-pop band in 1999 and spent the next several years honing its craft by the way of relatively under-the-radar EPs and full-lengths. Then, thanks to 2006’s whistle-laden sparkler “Young Folks,” the Swedish trio suddenly found itself on the lips of tastemakers everywhere. With this success tucked neatly in its back pocket, Peter, Bjorn, and John mostly focused on individual endeavors before unveiling 2009’s Living Thing which true to its name plays out like a living, breathing work of art. (In fact, “Blue Period Picasso” finds the group personifying a museum painting.) All told, it’s the most New Wave-leaning collection in Peter Bjorn and John’s catalogue — from the rubbery stomp of “Nothing to Worry About” to the kinetic pulse of “It Don’t Move Me” to industrial-style breakdowns on harmony-washed “Just the Past.” Still, the trio displays indie-pop mastery, ranging from precious serenading (“I Want You”) to seething anthem (“Lay It Down”), and shades of John Lennon’s soulful, vocal honesty appear on the sparse, finger-snapping ballad “Stay This Way.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Stockholm’s Peter Morén, Björn Yttling, and John Eriksson formed this indie-pop band in 1999 and spent the next several years honing its craft by the way of relatively under-the-radar EPs and full-lengths. Then, thanks to 2006’s whistle-laden sparkler “Young Folks,” the Swedish trio suddenly found itself on the lips of tastemakers everywhere. With this success tucked neatly in its back pocket, Peter, Bjorn, and John mostly focused on individual endeavors before unveiling 2009’s Living Thing which true to its name plays out like a living, breathing work of art. (In fact, “Blue Period Picasso” finds the group personifying a museum painting.) All told, it’s the most New Wave-leaning collection in Peter Bjorn and John’s catalogue — from the rubbery stomp of “Nothing to Worry About” to the kinetic pulse of “It Don’t Move Me” to industrial-style breakdowns on harmony-washed “Just the Past.” Still, the trio displays indie-pop mastery, ranging from precious serenading (“I Want You”) to seething anthem (“Lay It Down”), and shades of John Lennon’s soulful, vocal honesty appear on the sparse, finger-snapping ballad “Stay This Way.”

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About Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John formed in 1999 in Stockholm, Sweden, comprising members Peter Morén on vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Björn Yttling on vocals, bass, and keyboards; and John Eriksson on drums, percussion, and vocals. Although influenced by the sounds of classic '60s baroque pop, power pop, and new wave, the band shunned the "revivalist" tag and, instead, created some of the most exciting and original indie rock of the mid-2000s.

Peter Bjorn and John began playing gigs soon after forming and eventually found themselves on music compilations alongside artists like Sahara Hotnights, Badly Drawn Boy, and Holiday for Strings. After releasing the Forbidden Chords EP and a pair of singles ("Failing and Passing" and "I Don't Know What I Want Us to Do"), the band released its self-titled first album in 2002 on the tiny Beat That! label. After more shows, more EPs (People They Know, 100m of Hurdles), and another single ("See Through"), the group jumped to the Planekonomi label in 2004 and released the Beats, Traps & Backgrounds EP. It was soon followed by the 2004 album Falling Out, which was picked up for American release by Hidden Agenda in late 2005. The record placed them -- along with the Concretes, the Shout Out Louds (both of whom Yttling has produced records for), and the Legends -- at the forefront of the sparkling wave of promising pop bands coming from Sweden.

The band's third album, Writer's Block, followed a year later and became a minor international hit, buoyed by the catchy single "Young Folks." The song's video also boosted the band's profile, gently propelling Peter Bjorn and John into a very 2000s kind of fame that culminated in them playing the tune with Kanye West at the 2007 Way Out West Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden. After completing various tours in support of Writer's Block, the band focused on other projects (including Yttling's production work and Morén's 2008 solo album, The Last Tycoon) before coming together to record and release a largely instrumental album, Seaside Rock, in the autumn of 2008. Living Thing, the band's darker, more experimental fourth full-length album, was released several months later in early 2009. In 2011, Peter Bjorn and John returned to their melodic pop roots with the decidedly more accessible Gimme Some.

After that album's release, the trio members once again went their separate way and worked on a wide variety of projects. Morén released a solo album in 2012, the Swedish-language Pyramiden; Yttling maintained his busy production career, working with Chrissie Hynde and Lykke Li most notably; and Eriksson released two albums under the name Hortlax Cobra. Inevitably, the trio regrouped and went into the studio to record its seventh album, calling in collaborators like Patrik Berger (Icona Pop, Robyn), Paul Epworth (Florence + the Machine, U2), Greg Kurstin (Sia, Adele), Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, Kanye West), and Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow) to help out. Breakin' Point was released by INGRID in June of 2016. ~ Tim Sendra

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