Peter Bjorn and John: Endless Dream (INGRID) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, August 10th, 2020  

Peter Bjorn and John

Endless Dream

INGRID

Jul 01, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


For years, Peter Bjorn and John have mined a deep well of impressive talent and musicality. When they want to, the three gentlemen from Stockholm, Sweden can craft note-perfect, effortless indie pop songs. That’s why it stings that Endless Dream sounds so unremarkable and dull. All the usual elements are present for another batch of feel-good indie pop, but they never coalesce. Beginning with the syncopated cymbal that bursts out the door on opener “Music,” to the built-up chorus on “Out of Nowhere,” Endless Dream should work; instead, the songs never latch on or stand out. There’s nothing tangible across the album’s 10 songs to return to; no sharpened hooks, no unforgettable elements like the whistled melody in “Young Folks” or the percussive stomp of “Nothing to Worry About It.” And, for the first time, it sounds like an album built on unfinished, barely-there ideas; a tableau of middle-of-the-road pop songs.  

“Reason to Be Reasonable” sets a clever trap using a heartfelt, falsetto chorus and some choice songwriting (“It begins to dawn on me/If we fuck it up completely, I still recall it fondly”), but it never evolves beyond a steady drumbeat and some empty lyrical promises. “Drama King” rings hollow and takes way too long to catch fire, “Idiosyncrasies” tries for an off-kilter hep vibe but quickly drowns in its own tone, and “Rusty Nail” treads similar ground as 2011’s “Second Chance” but lacks the urgency (and the cowbell) to propel it forward. After a little over 30 minutes, Endless Dream fades quietly into the background with the dull strains of “A Week-End” before trying to come back to life with the pseudo-gusto of closer “On the Brink.” Most of the songs never properly get off the ground before they’re over and done and the album suffers from the same fate. 

Endless Dream is scaled back and overly minimal in an unenthusiastic way. Drums make up the center of most of these songs, which makes them difficult to endure. None of the songs, with the exception of “Out of Nowhere” and “Reason to Be Reasonable,” have any momentum to carry the band over the top of the mountain and, what’s worse, the band sounds bored, sleepwalking through the motions. As on the album’s cover, Peter Bjorn and John are looking up at the Technicolor mountain, marveling at unscaled heights in front of them. Endless Dream sits at the base of that mountain, never cresting, never moving. It's a rare miss from a band capable of much, much more. (www.peterbjornandjohn.com)

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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