- 19 Oct 18
Impressive effort from indie-pop maestros.
After the protracted five years of writing and production that went into their last album, Breakin’ Point, Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John’s eighth album Darker Days was assembled with greater immediacy. In fact, several of the tracks were created on the road, coming together at sound-checks. Given the shared songwriting duties, the tunes straddle a variety of genres, reflecting the band’s diverse musical interests.
While Peter crafts the album’s warmest, most inviting tracks with his brand of mellow soul, Bjorn brings the rhythmic contemporary pop, and John invokes the sounds of more esoteric alt-indie. The result is an intriguing and occasionally brilliant effort. It opens with the terrific ‘One For The Team’, which showcases the group’s knack for catchy indie-pop. ‘Every Other Night’, ‘Gut Feeling’ and ‘Living A Dream’ form a mighty series of tracks, again displaying the group’s eclecticism.
‘Gut Feeling’, in particular, nicely balances the group’s upbeat vocal delivery with melancholic synth tones. ‘Living A Dream’, meanwhile, is built around breezy organ and acoustic guitar, evoking the shimmering haze of ’60s psychedelic pop. The second half of the record has a moodier and ultimately less captivating set of tunes, though there are still some stunning moments, like the gorgeous harmonies on ‘Wrapped Around The Axle’.
Overall, Darker Days is a work of joyous melancholy, with the occasional lapses in quality control more than offset by the volume of top-notch tunes.