Review: Peter, Björn & John, Club Academy, 2006

Original article;

Peter, Björn & John at Club Academy Colin Warhurst (gig: 06/12/06)

I was really looking forward to seeing this Swedish trio, and though I wasn’t up on their music, I was assured that I would recognise a few tunes and I would certainly know 'that whistling one from the TV.' Gee, great help.

When the threesome did take to the stage, they literally came out of the crowd as if from nowhere. Either they’re super-inconspicuous or they’ve a good relationship with a fantastically loyal fan base. I suspect it was the latter, judging by the number of in jokes Björn was dropping and the casual asides that the audience lapped up but were totally lost on a newcomer like me.

Their opening number was a very mellow and laid back affair; almost too much so. Maybe I had been expecting a band with a bit more bite, some aggressive beats and breaks, but what I was hearing were three friends playing very mellow songs. The songs themselves were great, the vocals having a lingering quality to them, but it felt like I was watching a lounge band playing in a venue too big for their style.

Thankfully, once the slower opening numbers were out of the way, John on drums kicked up the pace and injected some much needed rhythm and excitement to the proceedings. We were treated to "the German version" of The Chills, very up tempo with a hypnotic bassline, which was arguably being the best song of the night; discounting Young Folks, of course…

I was thoroughly confused; I had gone from expecting some European rock outfit to having high hopes of hearing a Sigur Ros-esque trio of Swedish musos. Of course, they were neither and they shouldn’t be expected to be. But I just didn’t get it. I wasn’t alone.

All in all, the band didn’t put a foot wrong performance-wise. It was refreshing to hear the myriad of samples, beats, instruments and harmonies to produce some truly magical music. At one point, they broke out an original Speak and Spell as a guest vocalist and for that alone, they deserve to be credited as musical pioneers of some kind.