Saturday, 17 November 2007

artist: jens lekman

I stumbled across Jens Lekman's latest album, Night Falls Over Kortedala, last week. I'm not really sure why I ordered it, but I did anyway. I think it's important to sometimes make random stabs in the dark because you might come across something really fucking good.

Jens Lekman, a 26-year old from Sweden, sings in a style that is reminiscent of 1960's crooners. The music which supports his voice has a similar sheen, in a more overblown 80’s pop sense, which is almost sickly. However, this proves to be the perfect accompaniment to his concise and witty lyrics, which demonstrate a strong understanding of melancholy and in particular its relation to memory. I definitely agree with the idea that melancholy is something that is terribly saccharine; something that you can lose yourself in almost to the point of uneasy delirium, which when bound to the unreliable faculty of memory can yield interesting results.

Every detail that Lekman reveals through his words is drenched in this lovely joyfulness, even if the subject matter isn’t always so cheerful. Lekman sets out his stall with the first two tracks which push the theme of memory to the forefront, before filling the rest of the album with a series of anecdotal songs about life in Kortedala (an area of Gothenburg), all rendered in this dreamy clarity.

One such tale is A Postcard to Nina, a message to a girl that Lekman was in love with, but who was in love with a woman. Lekman recalls the delightfully awkward meal with her father, which he agreed to attend, posing as her boyfriend, in order to save face.

Other highlights include I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You and Shirin. The former offers up some useful alternatives to “It’s not you...its me” and other reasons that are often mumbled out in situations when only brutal honesty will suffice. The latter is a beautiful account of receiving a haircut from Shirin, the proprietor of an illegal beauty salon. Lekman promises not to tell anyone.

Samples feature heavily on the record amidst a wide variety of instrumentation including trumpets, accordions, harps, violins and various bits of percussion. This diversity lends a rich quality to the record that is perfectly matched by Lekman’s use of language. Not a single word is wasted.

Jens Lekman – A Postcard to Nina

Jens Lekman – I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You

visit his website /// buy Night Falls Over Kortedala


In other news, I'm getting quite excited about the new Erol Alkan produced Mystery Jets LP, which will surface early next year. Here are a few videos to whet the appetite and a demo of a song called 'Half in Love With Elizabeth', which when properly recorded could be sensational.

Mystery Jets - Half In Love With Elizabeth (demo)
visit their website for tour dates.

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