I realise that's a pretty bold claim in March, but, boy, do I like the new Jens Lekman LP, Life Will See You Now. I've had it on almost permanent rotation in the car all week (along with one other new album which I managed to fit on the same CD and I'll be mentioning here soon). Usually when I take a new album to the car, I give it time to grow: one spin, then back to something more familiar, revisiting it later. But this one, I've had to fight to get it out of the CD player.
10. Jens Lekman - How We Met, The Long Version
It's been 10 years since I bought a Jens Lekman album, no fault of the artist because I very much enjoyed 2007's Night Falls Over Kortedala; all the fault of my pathetic inability to keep up with all the artists I enjoy. Good pre-release buzz about this record reminded me about Jens, and I'm glad I plunged back in, because there's so much to enjoy here, starting with lead "singles" What's That Perfume You Wear? and Evening Prayer. I will warn you not to listen to any of the other tracks from the album on youtube though as someone has uploaded a bunch of them slowed-down for some reason... and they sound pretty ropey.
Discussing my love for the album with my pal Steve last week, I made the mistake of comparing it to recent John Grant masterpieces... knowing full well Steve isn't really into John Grant. Lyrically, there's certainly that same attention to quirky detail you'll find on a John Grant record (as Evening Prayer ably demonstrates) as well as an obvious love of upbeat, poppy electronica. But there's much more to love here even if you're not a John Grant devotee (a.k.a. you're clinically insane), from a gorgeous duet with Tracy Thorn, Hotwire The Ferris Wheel, which goes all Pearlfishers / Paddy McAloon towards the end (I should have led with that, shouldn't I, Steve?) to the main track I'm concentrating on today, which is the first song this year I've fallen head over heels for on first listen. I love the attention to detail here, how Jens speeds through the creation of the universe and the beginnings of life on earth... only to slow things right down at the moment he asks the girl he fancies to "borrow your bass guitar...not that I needed one". And just listen to the trumpets!
Seriously, if Life Will See You Now isn't near the top of my year end countdown for 2017, it will have been a truly amazing year for new music.