Monday, October 15, 2007

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

Download: Jens Lekman - "The Opposite Of Hallelujah"
Download: Jens Lekman - "A Postcard To Nina"
Download: Jens Lekman - "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You"

Jens Lekman
Night Falls Over Kortedala (Secretly Canadian, 2007)
Grade: A

Dramz and double dramz! Swedish sweetheart Jens Lekman has a new album out, and hot damn is it marvelous. His third collection of material, Night Falls Over Kortedala, was released last week on Secretly Canadian. The album was released internationally in September.

I don't know what I like better: Jens Lekman's cleverness or his flair for the dramatic. Lekman has always had a knack for capturing awkwardly sweet moments, awkward inner turmoil and pretty much anything else prefixed with "awkward." Lekman's lyric writing has always been among the best in the biz. "A Postcard to Nina" captures a graceless attempt to look like an upstanding citizen the first time he meets his former significant others' parents with the utmost of lyrical grace and humor. "It Was a Strange Time In My Life" covers vows of silence and shyness brutally clean honesty. And the entire album is permeated with a sense of honesty that elicits both howls of laughter and uncomfortable snickers. Lekman's lyrics are a thing of beauty.

And then that flair for the dramatic. Night Falls has a crazy amount of orchestral samples and fancy production effects. It's like the most nightmare-ish 70's music you can imagine pulled into this century and transformed into something fresh and sexy. Most of that can probably be credited to incredibly eclectic and saucy drumbeats that give a certain cheekiness to every song. The smooth violins, samples from musicals, and vocal production effects give a thick layer of gloss to the whole album. But even with all the sheen, the album is obviously very carefully calculated and assembled. Night Falls, while it doesn't cover much new sonic territory is a perfect example of how production can enhance the intent, emotion and drama in simple songs.

Lekman will be in town for a 21+ show at the Triple Rock Social Club on Nov. 3. Lekman has been known to format his shows in a wide range of ways: a capella, with a backing band and with a backing orchestra (he probably won't be dragging them to the T-Rock, though). While he's a mixed bag of styles, his reviews are consistently strong. He's well worth checking out.

(April Wright)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, postcard to nina is about his pen pal introducing him as her fiance to her parents. before she moves to new york with her girlfriend.

if you find the live version from pitchfork 2006, you can hear him tell it.

10:52 PM  

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