Album: Peter, Bjorn and John, Living Thing (Wichita)

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The Independent Culture

The Stockholm trio's 2006 hit "Young Folks" is one of those rare tracks that refuses to lay down and die, its cheery whistled hook able to brighten up the most overcast of outlooks.

Sadly, the auguries are not that positive for the band itself, whose fifth album takes their faux-naif charm and renders it arch and irritating via songs like the self-regarding "Blue-Period Picasso" and "It Don't Move Me", which employs the grandiose comparison "when history's done and everything has gone" as a measure of the protagonist's footling anomie. "Stay This Way" encapsulates their dilemma in its opening gambit, "I don't wanna go back, I don't wanna move on". "The Feeling" includes an electronic tone akin to that used by a car to remind you to fasten your seatbelt; "Nothing To Worry About" uses a children's chorus to impart its heroically ill-timed sentiment; and "4 Out of 5" features an overlay of Velvet Underground-ish drone textures. The trio seem at pains to remind us of the deeper complexities of the settings, ending tracks by revealing the untreated sources of their beats in things like twanged rulers, sundry metallic bangs and scratches, etc. Which, if anything, just increases one's irritation.

Download this: '4 Out of 5', 'Just the Past'

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