Upon first glance, the blue cartoon hand with the three thumbs up on the cover of Peter Bjorn and John’s recently released, “Gimme Some,” seems like a cute symbol of the trio’s unity. But then you notice that the hand has been sawed off, which is a more apt representation of the music within.
The songs on the Swedish trio’s sixth album are brimming with major chords, sassy beats and fun arrangements. But the lyrics are full of bile and violence. It must be said, however, that the result is occasionally quite funny.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of bitchiness in it,” agrees singer and guitarist Peter Moren. “We were joking about calling it ‘Negative S—.’”
In the song “Breaker Breaker,” the trio take down a journalist who has dissed the band. “Before you make a sound and try to turn us down/I’m gonna stuff your mouth with all your riddles,” sings Moren, a lyric written by drummer John Eriksson.
“There was a word in the first couple of lines, ‘I’m going to break your bike’ and I thought that sounded too silly,” recalls Moren. “So I suggested ‘I’m going to break your arm,’ instead, which was a bit heavier.”
Some of the silliness remains, however, as Moren sings, “I’m gonna break your nose and sing about it.” So did they break the journalist’s nose?
“That’s the thing,” laughs Moren. “When you write songs like this, and you get all of these negative thoughts and this anger out in this music, in the end it becomes something positive, and it’s that catharsis, or that working project, working through all those emotions and making pop music out of it, and then you just don’t feel as bad. That’s kind of the point I guess.”
Peter Bjorn and John
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334 South St.
Follow Pat Healy on Twitter at @metrousmusic.