1. Review: Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

    This is an old article of mine, originally written in 9th September 2008


    I have said it once and I will say it again, Jens Lekman is a true pop music genius and his last album “Night Falls over Kortedala” proven just that.

    In this album, consisting recording collection ranging from 2004 - 2007, Lekman has shown a remarkable talent mixing and made fusion of many musical elements into each track from acoustics, electric, strings, and opera.

    The same can be same for Lekman’s lyrics as well, witty, funny, sarcastic and sometimes sounded bitchy-funny like your drag queen hairdresser. From story of getting your finger cut while slicing avocado (Your Arm’s Around Me), pretending to be a boyfriend for a lesbian (Letter to Nina), heavenly touches from an immigrant hairdresser (Shirin), of an unforgettable first kiss (And I Remember Every Kiss), and of regretting a first kiss (Sipping on the Sweet Nectar). All are beautifully serenaded and told by Lekman, sounding like a romantic bard who is very much in love with his music.

    As for what made the arrangements beautiful are such like the first track of the album “And I Remember Every Kiss” is my favorite grandeur opening, filled with majestic strings, and opera nuances. Followed with a retro candy pop “Sipping on the Sweet Nectar”. Not to be missed also beautiful strums of what I think is harp, strings of violin and viola in “Your Arms Around Me” and mixes of acoustic, harp (again) and light touches of electronic mixes just to name a few.

    Jens Lekman has truly shown that he is a brilliant artist, a craftsman, a witty poet abundant with talent. My audio experience listening to this album akin to the warm pleasant sensation of a hot cup of toffee nut latte on a cold windy afternoon, it will leave you with a good feeling for many days afterward, and so much more than you can bargain for.

    Score: 4 out of 4

  2. Review: KEANE - Strangeland

    The long anticipated (by me at least) album of KEANE called “Strangeland” has finally arrive in the nearest records store. Despite some aspects that hinder me from loving this album, it’s good to know that KEANE has decided to withdraw from their Perfect Symmetry and Night Train approach and went back to the sounds of Hopes & Fears and Under the Iron Sea.

    I know not whether I love to inflict emotional pain to myself or anything, but I have to admit I do enjoy KEANE dark, brooding, suicidal nuances on their second album. And I completely miss it on their third album and Night Train EP where they begin to experiment just like U2 was on Discotheque.

    My initial reaction upon the first 5 initial tracks was jubilation, Oxley’s magical touches on his keyboards and Chaplin’s majestic soaring vocal blew me off my seat. This is how KEANE supposed to sound, this exactly what I’ve been longing to hear from the band. The track was followed by Silenced by the Night and Disconnected, awesome tracks, very KEANE with their trademark rich piano driven tunes.

    Unfortunately the good thing (or tracks) has come to (some sort) of an end, and the CD came to a song called On the Road where I completely cannot wait for the song to end, it was just that bad with Chaplin’s voice seems to sink in the cheap jumpy energetic tunes of the song.  Neon River sounded promising at first, catchy and rich tunes but somehow falls on the boring side of the lane for me, fortunately the CD has In Your Own Time to save me from drowning in boredom.

    Closure of the CD is a track called Sea Fog captures the band mellow nuances that reminds me of Hamburg Song on their second album. I’m a big fan of mellow dark song, but the track just can’t have me up to the point where I’d choked up in tears and in overall, the album did not give me a closure where I sighed in a satisfactory state.

    I hate to be the one who say this, but this album made me wonder if the band has to get into a heated argument, drugs problem and increasing sentimentality between each member just so they can come up with another album which as good as their 2nd album. God forbid, I hope it’s not the case although I do miss the bone chilling, emotion and tear jerker sounds of Under the Iron Sea.

    To close this essay, I will say that I am happy to know that KEANE has gone back to where they’re good musically with Oxley, Chaplin & Hughes (with new member Quinn) lashing out their capability as artist. This may not be their best album yet (for me) and fell a bit on the flat side, but it does have thousand glimmers of hope in each tunes. I will say that Strangeland provides an audio challenge for those who hear it, the kind where you have to listen to it several times before you can embrace and grow a liking.

    I have always been a big fan of KEANE, and this album has given me something to believe that this band is worth not just a listen, but many more of listens. Definitely, KEANE is a band I will look upon to hear and see evolved in years ahead to come.

    Score: 2 out of 4