Last night at swanky Central London members club Blacks, a select few (thirty bodies, at a push) were treated to an acoustic, stripped down preview of Jens Lekman‘s new record I Know What Love Isn’t in a space no larger than your grandmother’s living room. Dimly lit and flanked with Victorian decor throughout, window shutters rattling gently as the breeze outside picked up, Lekman casually emerged and softly leaned into album opener (and closer) ‘Every Little Hair Knows Your Name’.
It wasn’t until ‘Waiting For Kirsten’ from last year’s An Argument With Myself EP that there was some respite from ‘Jens in love song mode’. “This song takes place in my home town two years ago… I don’t know too much about Kirsten (Dunst), but I read that she liked my music, and I was trying really hard not to be impressed by that…” The tale continues with Lekman and best friend Joel Karlsson (of the massively missed Gothenburg disco kings Air France) “manically stalking” Dunst throughout the night. Stripped clean of the EP’s generous production the song’s twee stylings were no more .
The truly unique moment came with new album number ‘She Just Doesn’t Want To Be With You Anymore’. As Jens shared: “For this next song I sampled a saxophone solo from a band called Paninari but the sample I have doesn’t work in this situation because it has too much percussion … So I looked around for a sax solo on YouTube and this just seemed to fit perfectly … So this guy, Xavier Perez, doesn’t know he’ll be performing with me tonight.” Laptop cued at the ready, Lekman hit play during the song’s outro – and a random ‘Sax Man’ in Kenny G mode played the most glorious baritone solo over Lekman’s minor key jazz chords. It shouldn’t have worked – even reading that sentence back sounds like the cheesiest thing in the world – but my God it did.
It’s hard to write a simple account of any Jens Lekman show without veering into uber fan boy territory: the prose merely a mish mash of adjectives – a gushing reenactment of his charming and oft’ self deprecating tales of misfortune and lost love…. See what I mean? Sigh. Last night was though – for a long-time Lekman fan- one of those moments that validates exactly why this awkward “potato chips factory boy” (his words, not ours) has become the poster boy for the downtrodden romantic.
Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
Become Someone Else’s
I Know What Love Isn’t
Waiting For Kirsten
I Want A Pair Of Cowboy Boots
She Just Doesn’t Want To Be With You Anymore