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Wednesday, May 11 2011
If Peter Bjorn and John have taught us anything (besides how to put our lips together and blow), it's that figuring out what to do after having a hit record might be harder than actually writing one. Following the runaway success of 2006's "Young Folks," the Swedish trio tried a sharp left turn, dispensing with whistling, bongos, and vocals and delivering the pretty-but-inconsequential instrumental effort Seaside Rock. In 2009, the threesome offered a more electronic effort, swapping out its past orchestral flourishes for moody synths and chilly programmed drums. Neither captured the giddy joy of "Young Folks" or the other amazing songs on Writer's Block. Luckily, for their latest disc, Gimme Some, Peter Morén, Bjorn Yttling, and John Eriksson returned to their early roots and made a punkier, more-live-sounding disc. Before recording, they swapped mix CDs of bands they wanted to reference, including such acts as REM, the Stone Roses, the Feelies, and Philemon Arthur and the Dung (a controversial '70s acid-rock band in their native land). The resulting sounds are a fascinating amalgamation of eras and genres, as well as being harder and more visceral than anything since Writer's Block. "I Know" reimagines Creedence Clearwater Revival's swampy garage-blues as chugging Krautrock, while "Second Chance" grafts the riff from Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" onto the punk-funk boogie of Gang of Four. "Dig a Little Deeper" re-envisions Archie Bell & the Drells' soul classic "Tighten Up" as indie-rock anthem; "Lies" updates the Records' power-pop nugget "Starry Eyes" as fuzzy noise-pop. While there may not be anything as effortlessly brilliant as "Young Folks," the group has, by revisiting music's past, discovered a splendid future.

Bachelorette opens.
Fri., May 13, 9 p.m., 2011

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Dan Strachota


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