By Dan Lurie
Jens Lekman is back for another U.S. tour, this time carrying a shattered heart along with his guitar and gig bag.
The breakup album is a rite of passage for any singer-songwriter, and with his latest LP, I Know What Love Isn’t, Lekman hops on the wagon. This one’s a little different though, both in terms of his own approach to songwriting and also the way he tackles the familiar topic of lost love.
Lekman has a long history of building songs from the sample up, but here he’s simplified things, opting for a wistful live band sound.
What you hear on tape is likely what you’ll see on stage: acoustic arrangements with a smattering of violin, flute and some delightful piano hooks that quickly take residency in the brain.
The tone of the music is light and even a bit playful at times, a catchy backdrop to an artist baring his soul. In his usual storytelling style, Jens tackles the ups and downs of that mysterious period when a relationship ends and what the future holds is anyone’s guess.
In recent interviews, he’s talked about his take on the breakup album and breakups in general. For Lekman it’s not about finding absolute closure but rather learning to hold the broken heart gracefully, almost like a keepsake. An album about those feelings makes for a good keepsake too.
Jens Lekman plays Seattle’s Neptune Theater Nov. 1 and the Aladdin Theater in Portland Nov. 3.