Jens Lekman: I Know What Love Isn't – review

(Secretly Canadian)

Someone once compared Jens Lekman to the filmmaker Wes Anderson, for his sparkly artistic vision and his tendency to come over a bit twee. The 31-year-old Gothenburger is best known for combining autobiography with arch humour; he writes quizzical pop songs with arch titles (Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song to the Blind Girl is about the guy from Mask) and he's got the kind of shrugging sadness that resonates deeply with the Brits, from his amusing self-deprecation to his Morrissey-flat voice. On this third album nothing quite matches the second track, Erica America, for subtlety, its delicately anguished lyric set to a lush, Richard Carpenter-style melody. Elsewhere, the fashionably tinny production and unending roster of failed romances and pretty girls' names start to sound weirdly flippant. He says he set out to explore love's grey areas, but he's rather too stylised to get to the heart of the matter.


Kate Mossman

The GuardianTramp

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