Peter Bjorn and John: Living Thing

You think you don’t know who Peter Bjorn and John (myspace.com/peterbjornandjohn) are (three of the disciples? It’s been a while since Sunday school) but you’re wrong. You know their wondrous one hit, “Young Folks,” a peachy jam of a three-year-old tune. YouTube it if you doubt the claim: unless you spent the summer of ’07 under an indie-rock ban, you were whistling the then one-year-old “Young Folks.” You, Kanye, Gossip Girl and probably your cocker spaniel, too.
Such ubiquity comes with a lot to prove, so the Swedish trio sobered up and set out to make a heavier, more mature and resonant third record—something with heft, not just hooks. And here we have it.

Living Thing (StarTime International/AlmostGoldRecordings) is out today and bound to confuse. Why so serious? Where did all these Depeche Mode-ish downbeats come from? Is this “the new sobriety”? Should we blame Obama?

There is, of course, the 2009 edition of “Young Folks,” making a bid for Song of the Summer with its kids-chorus samples in lieu of the so-two-years-ago whistles. The track’s called “Nothing to Worry About” and should be downloaded from iTunes immediately. The rest is slow going. Imagine trying to watch Kate Hudson act in a Holocaust film. If you could handle that, you’ll appreciate this.

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