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JENS LEKMAN Life Will See You Now

JenLekman

Jens Lekman
Life Will See You Now
Secretly Canadian/Inertia

8.5/10

The early part of Jens Lekman’s steps into the music business was a thing of DIY legend. As a young fellow in Gothenburg, Lekman would release his home recorded music on CD-R’s under the name Rocky Dennis (the name of the protagonist from the movie Mask). When early tunes like Farewell Song To The Blind Girl found themselves on the radio, the Rocky Dennis moniker was about to stick. Lekman quickly farewelled the Rocky Dennis name and sent his songs overseas to be signed to a record label almost immediately.

In the years between, Lekman has travelled the world playing solo shows with a ukulele and a thumb piano, even settling in Melbourne for a few years along the way. His songs have always had a sense of ambition with samples and strings being par for the course, but Life Will See You Now has really upped the ante with its sense of grandeur.

The Swedish singer writes narratives that are both conversational and absurd and Life Will See You Now is no exception. The cast of characters range from a Mormon missionary, someone who carries around a 3-D printed model of his tumor and a group of friends to hotwire a ferris wheel for a joyride. All the while, Lekman offers his oblique lyrics with a gentle baritone.

Lekman looks to have well and truly recovered from the heartbreak that was the subject of 2012’s I Know What Love Isn’t, even when wishing for a “GPS in your heart” during the joyous pop of To Know Your Mission. There is a sheen to the songs that come from Lekman’s experimenting with drum machines and electronica as he swings seamlessly between salsa, bossa nova and disco rhythms.

Never having any difficulty finding women to surround him, the smooth Lekman enlists Loulou Lamotte to offer harmony to the opening two tracks with Tracey Thorn offering her ethereal lilt to flesh out the cinematic Hotwire The Ferris Wheel. Lekman finds time to unveil his much loved croon on the sparse Dandelion Seed, and if you can resist the buoyant chorus of Wedding in Finistére, you mustn’t have a heartbeat.

He may have presented as the Peter Pan of indie-pop for many years, but Lekman appears to have matured musically and as a person. The results are anything but poe-faced and the musical collage of Life Will See You Now is a triumph.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT

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