Across three studio albums, the Swedish singer/songwriter and musician has proven not only his flair for telling very personal stories with a sharp self-awareness, but also his skill for balancing depth of emotional expression with droll and often self-deprecating detail. It’s a winning pop combination.
His fourth, Life Will See You Now is a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humor is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop’s writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self.
But, as the title suggests, it also represents a significant move forward, as if across a threshold. I Know What Love Isn’t (2012) was informed by a painful relationship breakdown that pitched its author into something of a crisis and so necessarily put him at its center, using a muted sound palette.
But Life Will See You Now is the more expansive, upbeat sound of a revitalized Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships. It’s also the result of deliberate steps he took to create this fresh sound.
Lekman experiments with different kinds of rhythms – disco, calypso, samba and bossa nova all get a bespoke twirl in the spotlight – and so he called on producer Ewan Pearson (M83, The Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp) to help realize his new songs.
1. To Know Your Mission
2. Evening Prayer
3. Hotwire The Ferris Wheel
4. What’s That Perfume That You Wear?
5. Our First Fight
6. Wedding In Finistère
7. How We Met, The Long Version
8. How Can I Tell Him
9. Postcard #17
10. Dandelion Seed