Peter Bjorn & John

Wednesday

SXSW Records

Peter Bjorn & John

Living Thing (Almost Gold/Star Time)

Living Thing, this Swedish trio's fifth studio album, marks a departure in sound from the skinny-jeaned Euro-pop of Writer's Block (2006). Where the latter put narrative and straight-ahead indie pop front and center, the new disc, like last year's instrumental Seaside Rock, finds PB&J playing with sounds and textures. "The Feeling" warps perception with electronic fussiness and a gloomy perspective, while the fuzzed-out "Nothing to Worry About" fiddles with bendy guitar, stuttery syncopation, and youthful backup singers. There are still stories here, with the naked aggression of "Lay It Down" ("Hey, shut the fuck up, boy. You're starting to piss me off") and the clever conceit of "Blue Period Picasso," in which a lovelorn suitor likens himself to an isolated, lonely painting in the wake of a broken love affair. But where's the joie de vivre? Sunk like a 401(k), it seems. (Wed., Vice, 10:45; Thu., Emo's Main, 1am; Fri., Cedar Street Courtyard, 10:45pm.)

**

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