Monday, November 5, 2007

Jens Lekman / "Night Falls Over Kortedala"

Jens Lekman is extremely talented. His voice is easily one of the most pleasant in the indie scene. His production on his latest album is over-flowing with jubilation. His lyrics are tender, delicate, and sweet. Everything seems perfect, until you realize how nauseous his whole happy-go-lucky act makes you after more than ten minutes. For better and worse, everything about Lekman's style is amplified on his latest release, "Night Falls Over Kortedala".

Lekman's vocals are always pitch-perfect. He never comes up short and he never strains. That's precisely the problem. Great vocals aren't about being on-key so much as emotionally affecting. I would rather listen to Jeff Mangum (of Neutral Milk Hotel) over Michael Bublé any day of the week. Pick any song on the album. They all sound pretty of course, but unfortunately his vocal precision leads to them sounding pretty empty as well.

The production, while again lovely at first listen, eventually stagnates. It seems he produced the first track so perfectly that he decided it would be best if he produced nine others with remarkable similarity. Acoustic guitar, drums, a hint of flute and strings, and the occasional high-pitched accompanying vocal. A Hershey's bar tastes great at first too, but I wouldn't eat ten of them with equal satisfaction. Cleary, Lekman has never been tutored on the Law of Diminishing Returns. His only exceptions are the final two tracks: the doo-wop of "Kanske Är Jag Kär i Dig" and the brass-based lounge number "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo".

His lyrics so overzealous with romantic sentiment even Hallmark would tell him to tone it down a bit. "If I had to choose a moment in time to take with me into eternity, I would choose this moment with you in my arms" or "I would never kiss anyone who doesn't burn me like the sun, and I remember every kiss like my first kiss." There are many people who would find lyrics such as these romantic and passionate, but I simply don't have the sweet tooth for them myself.

That really sums up the album as a whole. Quite a few people have fallen in love with this album, and surely more will follow as the year continues. Despite my personal indifference, I recommend you give it a listen. After all, it's so well polished it shines. However, what it lacks in dust and scratches it also lacks in emotional power; it fails to stay with you once the disc stops spinning. Perfection is boring.

Rating: 6.4


Josh said...

review a raveonettes album

Kid C said...

I'm going to be reviewing "Lust, Lust, Lust" either November 20th or 21st. I got my hands on it today.