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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Peter Bjorn and John's New Album Breakin' Point Proves They've Got More Hits Beyond 2006's "Young Folks"

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 8:58 AM

click to enlarge pbj_bp_group_by_johan_bergmark_smaller.jpg
The familiar sound of siren-like whistles opens up “Breakin’ Point,” the title track to power pop trio Peter Bjorn and John’s sixth album. For fans of the Swedish group, that whistling is a clarion call to the band’s most famous song, “Young Folks,” released 10 years ago, that elevated the group into the consciousness of American listeners.

That ubiquitous tune, released on the album Writer’s Block, was dubbed the second best song of the year by NME Magazine, and Rolling Stone included it in its list for “15 Best Whistling Songs” of all time (a niche category, but still). Peter Moren, whose frayed vocals provided the song with a poignant accessibility, said the group has been reluctant at times to play their most famous creation, but with the passage of years that unease has lessened.
“When we were touring behind the record after Writer’s Block [2009’s Living Thing], it was a little weird to play “Young Folks,” because it was such a big focus, and we wanted to play our new material,” said Moren, whose group will play at the Rickshaw Stop on May 6. “Now it’s been 10 years, so it’s almost like playing a cover song. That whistling on “Breakin’ Point” is kind of like our 10-year anniversary of “Young Folks.”

Moren said the group is also fine with playing “Young Folks” now because they’re so confident in the material that makes up Breakin’ Point, the groups first’s release in five years. The album is maxed out with anthemic material, ranging from ‘60s-era psychedelic pop tunes, like “Nostalgic Intellect,” to disco-indebted tracks, like the album opener “Dominos.” Breakin’ Point is an album made up of songs that are rich, multilayered creations, with guitars and pianos blending seamlessly with synth lines and samples to create a swinging, danceable sound.

“The goal heading into this album was to make really well-written pop songs,” said Moren, who is joined in the group by multi-instrumentalists Björn Yttling and John Eriksson. “We wanted to make big, bold statements — to splash some color on our black and white canvas.”

Painting the album with so many colors certainly took some time. Moren said the group originally began work on Breakin’ Point back in 2012, but the meticulous attention to detail and rotating cast of producers — the album has six different ones — created a slow development process. Moren called the album the most collaborative effort yet from the three musicians, who all have busy solo careers, either as producers or recording artists.

He said the group is eager to get back out on tour for their first live appearances since 2013. They’ll be joined by two touring musicians, who will try to help them faithfully recreate the many moving parts of Breakin’ Point. Moren said the live setup will obviously lean heavy on those tunes, but he expects to play some of the band’s older recordings, including “Young Folks.”

“I mean it’s a great song,” Moren said. “I still really like it.”

Peter Bjorn and John will play at the Rickshaw Stop on May 6 as part of the recurring Popscene series. They’ll be joined by Okay Kaya and Popscene DJs. Details of the event are available here
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Will Reisman

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