Shining debut from outrageously gifted 23-year-old Swede

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Score 4

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Jens Lekman – “When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog”

Though not quite the out-and-out classic that Lekman’s three prior EPs seemed to promise, …Dog is still superior fare. Both vocally and lyrically, there’s much of Stephin Merritt in the hangdog croon and deadpan wit, keening wryly at a world forever pissing on his parade. Musically, it makes sticky bedsit dream-clouds of lounge, Vegas, folk and chamber pop. Try the finger-poppin’ Andy Williams-meets-Jonathan Richman a cappella of “Do You Remember The Riots?”, “You Are The Light” (where Caesar’s Palace and ’60s French pop get wiggy) or the mordant Scott Walker fancy of “The Cold Swedish Winter”.