Thursday, August 16, 2007

On First Listen: Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala


Jens Lekman's new album was his attempt at cohesion. His attempt to make what he was quoted as calling a "real album". On first listen it seems the melancholy Swede has arrived at his goal successfuly. Night Falls Over Kortedala is mostly what everyone would have expected from Jens and it is to that end one of the most satisfying albums of the year.

The songs themselves fit into the classic Jens mold of minutia and emotional nuance. Musically the album is mostly a mid-tempo affair with a few more galloping moments and a handful of slow crawl sad songs. String arrangements for this album are impressively dramatic and horns break in a lot of areas that might have otherwise felt too stark. Album opener "And I Remember Every Kiss" is a swelling masterpiece of dramatic pop song craft and would act as a suitable entry point to not only this album but Lekman's music in general. Several tracks take on characteristics of vintage disco with a decidedly organic bent, others wallow in the sort of 60's pop schmaltz that could bring a tear to Glenn Campbell's eye.

The lyrics on Kortedala once again find Jens confused by his lack of human connection and bewildered by the few connections he has. The Album high light in my mind is "A Postcard to Nina". The song chronicles Jens' trip to a friend's parent's home in Germany. Before they enter the home she (a lesbian) tells Jens she has told her parents her boyfriend was along for the trip. Over the next few lines Jens fumbles around conversations with Nina's parents and hopes that he's done a good job of convincing her parents.

There is a striking specificity to all of Jens' songs and on this album that seems to become even more true. As a result you get a strikingly personal statement from an artist who seems to have no boundary of where he ends and his art begins.

A slightly subdued live version of album opener "And I Remember Every Kiss"


Another new song.

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