Jens Lekman has certainly created a unique persona in the indie world. Shy but smooth: a sensitive Swedish crooner awash in heavy, retro orchestral sampling that has made his newest record, "Night Falls Over Kortedala", a canny Lite FM-ish twinkie that manages to be both ironic and heartfelt. Yea, it's a sugary album. Although the songs occaisonally border on high camp, they never quite cross that uncomfortable line, proving Lekman to be a smart and qwerky maestro, capable of veering easily from tunefully expressing the lustful pangs of true love, debonair as he is, to the darker shadows of introspective longing. Lekman is a successor to Morrissey, in his witty and wounded lyrics, and his wavering falsetto voice. He is also perhaps THE quintessential opening act for a Belle and Sebastian show, but Lekman's fearless studio experiments and definite capabilities as a songwriter hint at something much more interesting and nouveau; his following will surely grow, but I'm hesitant just yet to declare his peak with this album. I think Lekman has a greater masterpiece in him, and I have no doubt we'll hear it soon enough.
Lekman has created a cohesive record that simply sounds great; the songs have excellent flow and smile-inducing production. Vocally, Lekman has never been stronger. But while his previous release, "Oh, You're So Silent Jens" was a bit of a mish-mash, more a casual compilation of songs than a legit album, I enjoyed it more. Stand-out singles worthy of continuous college radio play such as "Maple Leaves" and "I Met Her in an Anti-War Demonstration" and "Black Cab" I found more memorable than any particular track on "Kortedala"--and in that way I find his newest release to be a bit of a letdown, but certainly no disappointment. Just a mixed response. It's a strange reaction, I know, to an artist I truly admire. While I haven't stopped playing the CD, none of the songs have made it to my ipod playlist.
In any case, any one moment on this record is worth six on virtually anything else out there in the indie twee world. Lekman is certainly a singer to watch and savour, and I relish his climb up the Soul Searching Ladder to the Stars.