Writers Block
Peter Bjorn & John - Writer
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Peter Bjorn & John
Writer's Block

On their third album, it seems that Peter (Morén), Bjorn (Yttling), and John (Erikkson) have really hit their stride. Writer's Block is an eleven track, forty-five minute gem of an release that mixes styles and dynamics amazingly, shifting between fuzzy shoegazer-style pop (with a 60s style bent), playful male/female sing-alongs, and even some semi lo-fi shufflings that all manage to sound like they belong on the same album. Toss in some very interesting production touches and you've got yourself one of the better pop albums to come out this year.

"Objects of My Affection" follows a short field recording track that opens the release, and kicks things off on a strong foot with guitars that are alternately jangling and full-on hazy guitar sonics. Along with a serviceable rhythm section and some crooning, but slightly nasal vocals, it sounds something like Buddy Holly as re-imagined by Kevin Shields. "Young Folks" was the first single from the album and it's obvious why due to its sheer immediacy. The track starts out sparse, with only a rubbery bass and some crisp drumming backing the vocals of Morén. It slowly morphs, though, as ex-Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman coo's her part, and explodes into something even more vibrant as the two come together for a soaring chorus.

There are plenty of gems on the album, and the release switches up enough to keep things from getting anywhere close to stale. "Amsterdam" is the mid-tempo tumbler that mixes some choppy beats, loopy synths, and the more baritone (and sleepy sounding) vocals of Yttling into another track that invites singing-along. "The Chills" changes things up even more, mixing some more austere synth sounds with some hand percussion and subdued breakbeats while detached vocals fall in alongside the instrumentation almost perfectly.

The only minor stumbling blocks on the album are the short "Start To Melt" (which feels more like the sketch of a great track given the surrounding pieces) and "Poor Cow" (which closes the release on a semi-clunky note), but even those two tracks still have things to enjoy, and surrounding them is a batch of pieces that range from wistful to joyous, often in the same track. An excellent third album from the Swedish trio, Writer's Block should make sure that the group remains in obscurity no more.

rating: 8.2510
Aaron Coleman 2006-11-23 20:12:01