Time apart served the Swedish pop trio Peter Bjorn and John well, as they return with a still-catchy, sonically broader album.
Michael Stipe said labels are for canned food. And Juliet asked, “What’s in a name?” Two quotes that make you quickly not care that Preoccupations were just last year known as Viet Cong. The music makes the band anyways, right? So they have a new album. A new name. Same indie synth punk you loved on last year’s (then) eponymous album. While I’m definitely not crazy about the name change (but we’re over band names, eh?), I can say I’m crazy about the album, which is also self-titled.
Preoccupations, like Viet Cong, offers us more Interpol/Wolf Parade-esque vocals over very Canadian riffs. And by “very Canadian” I mean, of course, long, progressive ambient song intros followed by never-too-fervent pulsations of sound. I hate to use the word “bland” because it implies something less, but it’s definitely punk revival toned down. Think about those days you leave work and are super pissed off, but you know you would never actually quit. Preoccupations would be the perfect choice for that car or bike ride home.
The album ranges from one-minute songs to 11-minute songs and if you’ve already checked out “Anxiety” then you’ll have a pretty good idea about what the rest of the album sounds like. The way in which the band (Matt Flegel, Mike Wallace, Scott Munro, Daniel Christiansen) have weathered the whole name change thing is a sure testament of their dedication to their craft. Listen for the music and the music alone.»
– Kelly Kovl