When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 19 September 2012
Where: The Ruby Lounge, 28-34 High Street, Manchester M4 1QB
When: 7pm on Friday 21 September 2012
Where: The Haunt, 10 Pool Valley, Brighton BN1 1NJ
We’re delighted to be promoting a handful of shows for Jens Lekman, the reason we started Hey! Manchester, in Manchester and Brighton.
Jens Lekman will release a new album, I Know What Love Isn’t, on 3 September on Secretly Canadian. The album is his first full length in five years, following the critically acclaimed Night Falls Over Kortedala. The opening track sets the stage for what’s to come: a simple melody picked out on an echoey upright piano, like a disused one you might find in a schoolroom or church. The tune, Every Little Hair Knows Your Name, is bittersweet but gentle, with a sustain that fades into the acoustic guitar and twinkling flourish of chimes on Erica America, the album’s first single.
From there the album expands, using an economical palette of sounds. I Know What Love Isn’t has strings but not a string section, an upright piano, not grand, a single saxophone, gracenotes from a flute, a lot of tambourine. Combined in exact proportions with Lekman’s melancholy abstract lyrics, the songs evoke the Brill Building sound, something Steve Rosen (writing for Crawdaddy) calls ‘an ambitious creative approach. Their sound was adventurous and full of surprisingly subtle coloration. There wasn’t a fear that delicacy could be interpreted as a loss of edge. Delicacy was part of the edge.’
This combination of soft-as-sharp can be found throughout I Know What Love Isn’t. A sprightly piano line on Become Someone Else’s backs the sentiment of not becoming ‘like the sinking rock tied to the leg of a person’. I Want A Pair Of Cowboy Boots pairs a single acoustic guitar and piano with the warmest smoothest vocal interplay and a cutting request for boots that walk ‘anywhere but back to you’. Images of everyday life follow a bouncy pop tune on The World Moves On; lying on the floor with a bag of frozen peas; feeding possums in the park; but also serve to illustrate how these ordinary things continue to happen in the face of heartbreak. ‘The world just shrugs it’s shoulders and keeps going, it just moves on in all it’s sadness and glory.’ The title track brings us the story of a sham marriage that feels realer for its honesty, ‘a relationship that doesn’t lie about its intentions and shit’.
Lekman is a storyteller of the highest calibre, letting his delicate vignettes unfold to show the wonder that lies in the mundane. That’s what I Know What Love Isn’t… is. A collection of songs that grew to a story that had to be told. A story that is not new, but essentially human. The story of the grey areas of love that you have to excavate and explore, using the method of exclusion, to find out what love is.
Tour support comes from Brous. Touted as a ‘human powerhouse’ and ‘prodigious chanteuse’ by Rolling Stone, Melbourne artist Brous possesses an uncompromising vision for pop. Equal part exotica diva and pop auteur, the bold singer weaves together a mesmerising palette of 1960s soundtrack fetishism, shimmering psychedelia and industrial lounge, with nods to pop traditions stretching from Japan to Brazil to Eastern Europe – stunning melodies all crowned by Brous’ extraordinarily powerful voice. Brous has sung on Bollywood soundtracks and Hollywood film scores, curated festivals, and kept up a constant schedule of new projects and collaborations with artists including Michael Rother (Neu!), Jens Lekman, Francois Tetaz (Gotye, Kimbra) and Mick Harvey. Throughout all this activity, Brous has been developing a body of stunning new music soon to be unleashed on Australian audiences and across Europe and the UK for the first time, featuring Brous’ gifted band made up of members of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, Lost Animal and Boredoms Boadrum.