In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.
This week we’re looking at analogs to I Know What Love Isn’t by Jens Lekman, but make sure to check out our full review.
Acid House Kings – Mondays are like Tuesdays and Tuesdays are like Wednesdays
The indie pop music to come out of Sweden in the last couple of decades has been so distinctly great that it almost calls for its own genre. Jens Lekman, with his strongly recognizable songwriting voice and overseas success, has become Swedish pop’s international face, but if someone asked me to sum up the genre’s unique charms in a single record I’d probably point them to Acid House Kings’ essential 2002 record Mondays Are Like Tuesdays and Tuesdays Are Like Wednesdays. Consisting entirely of brashly traditional twee pop tunes, Mondays stands purely on the power of the hallmarks of Sweden’s best indie pop: syrupy sweet songwriting, razor sharp melodicism, and lush, airy production. The simple becomes genius, and the modest becomes momentous. On I Know What Love Isn’t, Jens trades in Night Falls Over Kortedala’s cinematic string samples and orchestral bombast for something a bit closer to Mondays’ traditional feel, but the arrangements benefit from the same imaginative and perfectionist touch. As such, Jens’ newest effort feels like his most recognizably Swedish record to date, the impeccable production hitting the exact same sweet spot that the Acid House Kings did with Mondays.
The School – Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything
While the overt twee whimsy of I Know What Love Isn’t is perhaps it’s least notable quality, it nonetheless shares in that genre tradition within which old Jensy has so often steeped his recordings. The songwriting is certainly more mature than the irreverence of your Pains Of Being Pure at Heart types, but it’s well within the scope of the girl group aping of Belle and Sebastian offshoot God Help the Girl (but, you know, with a Swedish dude spewing his heartbrokenness over the top of it). While Lekman may do it best, there’s a little talked about band from Cardiff mining a similar emotional headspace with the same tools. You have your boisterous horns on “The Grass Is Always Greener on The Other Side”, your strings underpinning “I Should Do” and your lofty chirping vocal melodies throughout. You may not in Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything have a record as essential as any of Lekman’s major works, but its a record that nonetheless treads a parallel and interesting path in a gender flipped world.
— Colin Joyce