Album Reviews

Peter Björn And John – Seaside Rock

(Wichita) UK release date: 13 October 2008

With Young Folks still all over TV documentaries and UK radio, Peter Björn And John have a job on their hands breaking free of its clutches. Anyone paying careful attention since then, mind, will have found themselves recently rewarded with Peter Morén’s solo album and now Seaside Rock.

This is a largely instrumental affair, which is a shame in the sense that Morén doesn’t get to add his wistful vocals, yet the ten tracks that have made the cut are mostly rewarding.

It’s definitely a case of less is more where instrumentation is concerned, however – opener Inland Empire draws Lynchian parallels in its title but fails to fully ignite, despite an increasingly raucous, bluesy guitar. Likewise Next Stop Bjursele, which, despite a promising folk riff, doesn’t get itself fully off the blocks. Erik’s Fishing Trip, meanwhile is well crafted, but suffers from an over prominence of the spoken word.

Harsh maybe, but if you stick with it the rewards are found towards the end. Norrlands Riviera is beautifully spacious and Barcelona even more so, riffs alighting and departing with surprising grace. A nice eye-opener is also found early on in the steel pan of Say Something (Mukiya), which, after an odd ‘In The Air Tonight’ style introduction, charms with its warm textures. It’s a nice touch, and one the album could do with more of.

That said, this is a collection of instrumentals that, when fully peeled back, reveal beauty within, and are fit to grace many a chill out collection. It’s just a shame that they stop frustratingly short of revealing more personality, which vocals would have achieved.

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