Darker Days is the eighth studio album from Swedish indie pop/rock trio Peter Bjorn and John. That’s right, I said eighth, and they’ve stripped back to basics by evoking each band members’ songwriting skills, yet still sounding like a tight-knit music machine.
If you think about Peter Bjorn and John, the one song that comes to mind is 2006’s ’Young Folks’; that song with the whistling that got over-played when it appeared on a DIY store advert, ruining it for many fans, including me. Luckily, I completely forgot that these were the guys who wrote that song when I first listened to this new record. However, it still didn’t stop the album from being a bit of a let-down.
Imagine we’re making a bubbling cauldron of Peter Bjorn and John – the recipe would be as follows: heavy echoing distortion, a pinch of Everything Everything’s electro indie flare, and then a whole heap of mellow, generic indie band blandness. This isn’t an inspired collection of tunes and, as such, the album quickly becomes repetitive. ‘Living the Dream’, for instance, is a pleasant enough track but it also sounds like lift music.
‘Velvet Sky’ is one of the album highlights; moody, droning indie where the lyrics describe a break up. Throughout the album the band embrace different instruments, from violins to harpsichords, showing their musical vitality. They certainly have musical skills and talent, but this album would suit going on a long car journey where you want to find inoffensive music to suit both your 90-year-old grandmother, your teenage cousin and your toddling niece or nephew. It’s just not exciting.
Darker Days is worth a single listen but this is an album that could split nations on their opinion.