It's been twenty years since Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John first came together as a band to create subtly moving indie pop pieces. It's been fourteen since they reached commercial success with their breakout single, "Young Folks." And it's only been nine months since they released their ninth studio album, Endless Dream. But much like other artists scratching at the relentless itch to write and spend their quarantine lost in a creative haze (ahem, Taylor Swift), they decided they weren't quite done yet. So they continued to write, one song each, for their last project of 2020—Endless Play.
Written from each of the band members' point of view, Endless Play is a lifetime of stories condensed into twelve short minutes. As a band that has weathered the storms of two decades, putting out music both as a collective and as individuals during that time, it wouldn't be far fetched to expect their material to become stale, their instrumentation simple and overplayed. But on this humble EP, they stretch beyond what their past dictates and lean into what their present sounds like, as honestly as they possibly can.
While Peter's "Season of Defiance" brings forth images of calm, grey skies set across a beach wet with sea foam with its gentle guitar picks and lo-fi vocals, Bjorn's "Gone Gone Gone" sets the sun on that scene, tossing its guitar in the backseat of a car as it aimlessly drives down an empty road, singing along to a familiar folk tune on the radio. The final contribution—John's "Gonggong"—goes deeper into the night, with robust percussions simply demanding attention, not letting up until you give it. It may be a short journey to take, but it feels like every emotion you've had in the past year has been analyzed and simplified to just three simple songs: "We sure do need to stay defiant these days and not be scared into silence and submission," Peter notes. "So it's a very gentle call to arms I suppose, in a couple of coupled together sentences that you can read a lot into if you like...or not. "