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CD Review: Peter Bjorn and John

Living Thing (Almost Gold/ Startime International)

Two years ago, Peter Bjorn and John replaced Andrew Bird as hipsters' favorite whistlers when "Young Folks" puckered up and blew its way onto an AT&T commercial, into movie trailers and all over iTunes. The fifth album by the Swedish trio doesn't include any whistling, but it's stuffed with the sort of breezy indie-pop that made 2006's Writer's Block a hit. It's also filled with the gurgling synths, ersatz handclaps and detached vocals that made so much of Block anonymous. Living Thing works best when PB&J keep things melodically and lyrically simple. "Just the Past" glides fluently over spare drops of noise, while "Lay It Down" balances its lo-fi beats with a singalong "Shut the fuck up, boy/You are starting to piss me off" chorus. Who knew these cheery whistlers could get so angry? — Michael Gallucci

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