Jens Lekman opens Night Falls Over Kortedala with the sure step of an artist in complete command of his creative self. Imbued with epic grandeur, “And I Remember Every Kiss” fades in with a melancholy timpani roll, a stirring string section and Jens crooning with every wistful bone in his body. After the first verse, the strings passionately swell into a wall of sound and – with one gravity-defying pass-through – Jens delivers his death blow to cynicism by declaring, “And I would never kiss anyone / Who doesn’t burn me like the sun / And I remember every kiss like my first kiss;” illustrating just why many consider him one of the most important of the hopeful broken hearts coming of age in contemporary music. Like a modern day Chet Baker, Jens absolutely loves to sing about heartache.
On “Sipping On The Sweet Nectar”, Jens introduces a dance beat to his string, horn & croon combo. And it only gets bigger from there with the tableside backbeat of “Opposite of Hallelujah” to the live favorite “A Postcard To Nina”, and the slender hooks of “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You” to the Frankie Valli purity of “Shirin” – an epic ode to Jens’ barber which is reminiscent of a Mexican folk ballad.
Jens arduously labored over the songs on Night Falls Over Kortedala over the last three years between relentless tours (which ranged from full blown 8-piece ensembles to just Jens alone with a ukelele at the mic). Kortedala refers to a neighborhood in Jens’ hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden, where his studio Kortedala Beauty Center is located. It also refers to a vague musical pop sound with hints of tropicalia that has been coming out of Gothenburg’s clubs over the last few years. Having more in common with Paul Simon’s Graceland, Jens’ latest is a response to more than an engagement in today’s Kortedala music of his Swedish peers. An exercise in insularity, Night Falls Over Kortedala has achieved its specific sound not from going out but from Jens staying in and coming to grips with the sounds he had in his head, or as he said, “from the sound of my own voice reverberating off my home’s old ’50s brick walls, from the ghosts of everyone who’s lived here before me clapping along with their little ecto-plasm hands. My record basically never leaves the 30 square meters that I live on until the very last song when i take a short bus ride to the countryside in ‘Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo’.”
Jens further elaborates on his home of Kortedala:”What a depressing suburban hell this place is. Everyone goes to bed at nine, after that you can’t see one single window lit up. You can walk for hours without meeting one single person. I used to like that, cause it meant I could go for endless walks and pretend the world was my own and I was the only one in it. But after a while I found out the hard way that there were others who couldn’t sleep at night. On my way into town I got beat up and mugged one night three years ago. Since then it’s happened so many times I’ve lost count. It’s never been that bad, I’ve never ended up in the hospital or lost anything too valuable really. But it’s the atmosphere and the small incidents that scare me. The guys who yell faggot at me when I pass their balcony, the nazis hanging out in a nearby open garage, the old men with their binoculars who sit in their windows looking for anything suspicious to report, the dead cats that show up on the lawn outside my kitchen, the knock on my window at 4 am this summer followed by a whispered ‘when he opens you hit him in the head,’ the neighbour I constantly find passed out in the staircase, the flicker of a million tv screens against the livingroom walls, the smoke from a million chainsmoking moms, the fact that the guy who lived in my apartment before me lay dead in the bathtub for three months before they found him. In Kortedala everyone’s minding their own business. And I’m slowly turning into one of them so as soon as I’ve finished this record I will get the hell out of here.”
Night Falls Over Kortedala features Jens friendlies Frida Hyvönen and El Perro Del Mar.