We’ll be honest: When we booked Peter for our SXSW party, it was without regard to his solo stuff. We hadn’t heard but a few old demos but that didn’t matter — we’re Peter Bjorn & John fans. This last week’s listening changed that score entirely, though; now Peter’s set is one of our most anticipated. The Last Tycoon is a pretty extraordinary pop record. Just listen to “My Match,” the album’s downcast, devastating centerpiece (sequentially and stylistically). It was on track-repeat here all weekend. The fancy-picking first single “Social Competence,” however, takes similar problem-with-the-ladies subject matter and, via piano and handclaps, spins it into something sort of celebratory. By the time we get to the hook it’s a changed tune. “I don’t want to hear your voice” never sounded so triumphant, and is a half-melody away from Wham!’s “Freedom.” Great stuff.
We love how it bursts into that harmonica-band jam at the end, definitely an unexpected end to the track’s acoustic confessional beginnings. Bottom line: The guy’s a great songwriter.
The Last Tycoon is out 4/8 on Touch & Go.