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Beat Jab reviews Jens Lekman, Girls

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Jens Lekman
An Argument with Myself (EP)
Secretly Canadian
3.5 Stars

Think The Magnetic Fields and Beirut and Beck. This guy, from Sweden, is certainly charming and silly. He’s been around the world; he’s worked in a bingo hall. His EP is a little poppy (almost reggae in style) compared to some of the ballads from previous albums.

And much like The Magnetic Fields, even the goofy songs are rooted in something that stings a bit. They're easy to sort of laugh off on first listen, but they echo beyond their first impression. Something that proves he knows what he’s doing.

"A Promise" has a little lounge singer going on, in a way that will make you move your hips. Sometimes it's almost like he's mocking himself. It's fun to listen to: he's telling stories — exaggerated real-life. Small talk, gossip, inner monologues: "I'm sorry I'm babbling, hey how was your day?" A short commute EP, a getting-ready-for-a-night-of-goofing-around thing to play. -Micah Ling

Hear: a full-EP stream of An Argument with Myself (via New York Magazine)

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Girls
Father, Son, Holy Ghost
True Panther
Four stars

If Marty McFly had been a strung-out street kid — instead of a suburban dweeb playing “Johnny B. Goode” at his mom’s senior prom — he might have made the music Girls make. Stressed-out and fiending for a fix, Girls is a band fit for a black-eyeshadow “Under the Sea” dance.

These co-eds smoke and drink. They’re ambiguous — socially, sexually, meaningfully. Clever turns of phrase abound, but you get the idea whoever this guy’s talking to — they aren’t listening. He rambles and raves, pounding his chest for emphasis.

There are some serious jams here. Songs last near ten minutes — way beyond the 2:50 allowed at Sun Records. For those of us who are listening, though, this album is an overwhelming ode to never-found love.

The musicality is stunning. Hints of Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Queen, and (yes) The Grateful Dead are peppered among lyrics pining for, well, just about everything. Mostly girls. Boys too. “Deep, down, real down, crying, how I love that girl.” It's teenage, but it’s too knowing to be made by teenagers. “If you would only stay — don’t you know I want you?” We want it, we just don’t know it yet. -Jay Cullis

Check out more reviews at Beat Jab.

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