Following last year’s excellent An Argument With Myself EP, Jens Lekman is back with a new album proper, I Know What Love Isn’t. His third LP is a much more reflective and sombre affair than his playful release of last year; it’s an album that deals with love’s complexities and, more often than not, the heartbreak. It’s not so much a concept album but it tries hard to carry that one central theme from the start to the end (which, incidentally, is the same track – ‘Every Little Hair Knows Your Name’ – but in two different guises).
It’s also extremely cohesive. The music is light and airy throughout as is Lekman’s rather dry and, sometimes, resigned vocal delivery. The lack of deviation would irritate if the songs themselves weren’t good but they are, for the most part, solid and well-crafted. In particular, there are a trio of songs that do well to sum up the album’s central message.
‘The World Moves On’ features the album’s key statement: “That’s what it’s like when you’ve had your heart broken/The world just shrugs its shoulders and keeps going”. ‘The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love’, which as a statement itself is humorous yet undeniably truthful, features Lekman at his most rousing and the title track itself is charming.
I Know What Love Isn’t is an intelligent and honest record that offers a different perspective on love and it’s a viewpoint that is no less intriguing nor cathartic.
Words: Max Raymond