Sunday, March 2, 2008

"Oh You're So Silent, Jens" - Jens Lekman (RIPPED OFF '07)

“Oh You’re so Silent, Jens”

Jens Lekman
Secretly Canadian Records.

SCQ Rating: 87%

Purchased shortly after Christmas 06, this album became my sudden obsession. It was like a new relationship; one I would study over the details of daily listening and weigh the aspects I loved versus the occasional thing that irritated me. And while this collection of vinyl and singles contains both things I love and disregard, it’s so charming in its sequencing and raw melancholy that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. It’s better than the recent Night Falls Over Kortedala, which featured on my Top Albums of 2007, but sadly, Jens released this in 2005 and I was probably lost in Broken Social Scene at that time.

Luckily, Lekman was as sample-happy then as he is now, with several of these samples completely lifted from its source artists (Lekman openly admits to this, stating that he only stole them because he couldn’t afford to pay the $$$ to ‘borrow’ them). As is expected, these samples are used perfectly, from the Belle and Sebastian swagger of ‘Black Cab’ to the Avalanches’ influence of ‘Maple Leaves’. With a songwriting talent as diverse as Lekman’s, the only way to really identify one of these samples is if you’ve heard the original; otherwise it fits in as another great song in this young crooner’s catalogue.

At seventeen tracks and compiled of several 7-inch singles and EPs, “Oh You’re So Silent, Jens” is surprisingly fluent albeit a few mediocre tracks. ‘Pocketful of Money’ suffers from a baritone-heavy chorus that quickly itches your stereo-remote finger, while ‘F-Word’, with its recordings of neighbourhood alley-cats calling out, is simply overshadowed by the songs around it. For those aching over last year’s Night Falls Over Kortedala, I beseech you to hear this compilation album of Jen’s finest folk and balladry.

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