Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself EP

Imagine a calypso bar in the middle of New York where Belle and Sebastian were doing an impromptu set and you wouldn’t be far off the tone of the latest EP from Swedish musician Jens Lekman. The palm tree on the cover art says it all.

The EP begins with ‘An Argument With Myself’, a confident and witty opener demonstrating Lekman’s self-deprecating delivery ability. Drawing on some of the more catchy elements of Barenaked Ladies it features a trippy, reggae bridge featuring a literal argument with himself. ‘Waiting for Kirsten’ is a story about trying to find a girl to tell her how he feels, a fairly normal premise for a pop song but Lekman manages to make it sound not only fresh but heartfelt. The narrative is simple, again indicating Lekman’s supreme lyrical aptitude as he casually comments that "they drew a swastika in your cappuccino" and the listener cannot fail to be touched and sad as Lekman is told that he is too drunk and has to leave, failing to reach the girl.

‘A Promise’ is a rather bizarre story about promising an ill friend that they will go on holiday and it is here where it becomes evident that Lekman’s music can be very hit and miss. This track fails to quite reach the kooky wit which allows Lekman to be superior to many other musicians trying to do a very similar thing. ‘New Directions’ begins with a trumpet solo before a drum beat bounces into the toe tappable style and dreamy flutes introduce ‘So This Guy At My Office’ which is much slower than the rest of the EP and an appropriate end and outro.

In a world where you have to be complex to stand out Lekman takes music back to its roots, with an EP that is an unashamedly simple set of songs telling engaging stories. And he is definitely someone you’d want to have at a dinner party.


By Jessy Parker

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