He’s made the journey from spindly, insular indiepop to glorious, primary-coloured music, explicitly referencing 80s chart hits, soul, funk and disco.
Blessed with a tenor as soothing as his thoughts are anxious, Lekman sets his insightful songs to the most spirited and diverse arrangements of his career.
There’s a lot in Life Will See You Now to suggest that it’s Lekman’s finest album to date. It’s certainly his most refined and emotionally rich.
The finished product is articulate and bubbling with energy and positivity – much like Lekman himself.
It’s an album of trying to understand why things happen, from burnt bridges to that first fight in a relationship, rather than simply realising they have happened.
Life Will See You Now tackles life's most drastic ups and downs with good-natured empathy, making it both complex and comforting.
After the struggle to make this album, it’s a relief to hear Lekman on such fine form.
Unexpected musical influences and unlikely juxtapositions abound – to mixed success.
On his fourth album, Jens Lekman opens up in new ways. He narrates the vulnerability of others, works with a producer, and crafts pop songs that absorb disco, calypso, and samba to soften their ache.
Throughout, Lekman employs synth beats, calypso rhythms and gospel singers to actualize his creative vision. The result is engaging, if not terribly lasting.
There is a wide-eyed optimism pulsing through the heart of it which, twinned with Jens’ lovelorn, quirky poetry, is a sincere, open-hearted invitation.
Snapping with flashlight disco, percussive tropicalia, palpable visuals, and devastating pomp, Jens Lekman opens the curtains to life's generous swimming pool with his signature singular musical contemplation and invites us to splash around on the ebullient Life Will See You Now.
Through the intricacies of Life Will See You Now, Lekman philosophizes about the profound with references to the incidental, encapsulating the transfixing nature of fleeting moments that can nevertheless come to define a life.
Lekman’s playfully postmodern songwriting sands the edges off of topics that could otherwise be stale or rote.
Life comes across like the result of a songwriting exercise more than it does a true expression of emotions, like a career move instead of an honest progression and the first Jens Lekman record it's OK to skip.
Although Lekman's voice sometimes sounds like Morrissey doing a Kermit the Frog impression, he revels in strong songwriting and brilliant hooks played on steel drums, funky horns and hip-hop bells.
Life Will See You Now doesn’t quite hit the heights of 2007-era Lekman, but in his mid-thirties, Gothenburg’s favourite son remains a vital artist.
This experimentation with styles and arrangements means that Life Will See You Now does feel a little jumbled, as though Lekman has failed to settle on a sound, but on the other hand it’s just about clear that this is sort of the point.