Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Fork in the Road: Peter Bjorn and John

Sweden is so underrated in spite of all its creative outpourings and innovations. The Swedes have introduced the Nobel Prize, dynamite, loads of death metal, ’70s pop-group ABBA and, of course, indie-rock trio Peter Bjorn and John.

This trio’s hit “Young Folks” exploded onto the American indie-rock scene in 2006. Catchy and mellow, it quickly got stuck in our heads and on our lips, making a few of us painfully aware of our own inability to whistle.

But Peter Bjorn and John were not content to settle on being a one-hit wonder. The trio has since released three more albums. In addition, front man Peter Mor?n has also recorded two solo albums of his own, one in English and the other in Swedish.


Clearly, its time in the limelight did not detract the band from its larger artistic vision, as it has remained highly productive and is always eager for new creative ventures.

The group is currently in Europe touring with its new set of songs, and it will be coming to the States shortly. It stops in Madison on August 26th for a free show in front of the Majestic.

It also has plans to continue touring in South America, Australia and Asia.

Its latest album, Gimme Some, was released this March. The album was written over the course of a year, though the band spent only about a month in the actual recording process.

It’s a bit of a departure from prior albums in many ways. For one, in the making of this album, the group shied away from the use of synthesizers and excess instrumentation.

“The foremost idea was to get back to basics,” Mor?n said in a phone interview with The Badger Herald.

“We just wanted to reflect the sound of the live band and try to record most of the songs live,” he said.

Consequently, the group did without strings, brass and keyboards this time around. It kept it simple with the standard guitar, bass and drums. This has created a marked difference between this album and its predecessor, the highly experimental Living Thing.

They drew inspiration from a wide variety of artists and genres, including rockabilly, pop, indie, new wave, punk and shoegaze. This diversity in inspiration led to a unique sound despite the limited instrumentation.

But rock ‘n’ roll, pure and simple, is the most clearly recognizable element. The songs are upbeat, rhythm-driven and carefree, often with a bit of a Lennon-esque flair.

This album is unique for the band in another respect: This was the first time it used an outside producer while recording. Mor?n notes that this addition helped the band’s creative flow.

“It was really nice to get some fresh insight … especially since we were working more as a live band,” he said regarding the experience.

He also said the group tries to create a balance between old and new songs in its shows, offering something for new and long-time fans alike.

The band has rearranged some of its older tunes to fit its new live instrumentation, which is likely to create another interesting element for long-time fans.

Hearing simpler arrangements of older, experimental tracks like “Blue Period Picasso” and others is sure to be a pretty unique experience for all concert-goers.

Given that their new record is so focused on a live sound, crowds can expect an exciting show in August. Mor?n is very pleased with how the album is faring in concert.

“I definitely think this is the album that is working best in the live shows compared to most of the records we had made – and that was the plan.”

Peter Bjorn and John will play in front of the Majestic Theatre on 115 King Street on August 26th. The show is free and open to all ages, and it begins at 7 p.m. For more information, visit

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