Lukas Graham – Lukas Graham
With apologies to William Shakespeare, there’s something quite musical in the state of Denmark. Hailing from Christiania – an autonomous artistic community in the center of Copenhagen – Lukas Graham Forchhammer, along with his bandmates, Mark “Lovestick” Falgren (drums), Magnús “Magnúm” Larsson (bass), and Kasper Daugaard (keyboard) are poised to continue their breakthrough on American shores with the release of Lukas Graham’s debut self-titled album, out now on Warner Brothers Records.
It would be impossible to ignore the success of the album’s opener “7 Years” – both on US airwaves and here in my review – as it’s led to Forchhammer and Co playing on just about every late night show and amassing more than 343 million streams on Spotify and Youtube alone (as of this writing), but that’s just, I would argue, a small part of the story. Primed for radio success, “7 Years” is undeniably catchy with it’s hooks in all the right places, yet it is so much deeper than it’s straightforward lyrical concept would suggest.
The themes and metaphors first explored in “7 Years” are continued throughout the album; from loyalty, friendship, and the casual use of drugs and alcohol to the loss of Forchhammer’s father, the realities of incarceration, and the trappings of fame and success.
With repeat listenings, Forchhammer’s lyrics become even more pronounced, displaying the 27-year-old’s strength as a compelling storyteller; which when combined with Falgren, Larsson, and Daugaard result in 11 expertly crafted compositions – no two alike.
The album’s tone weaves back and forth from the jazzy pop-soul of “Drunk In The Morning” and “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me” to the more emotional “Happy Home” and “What Happened To Perfect”.
Of particularly note is “Better Than Yourself (Criminal Mind Pt. 2)”. The music and lyrics are equally dramatic as we hear Forchhammer’s pained ode to an incarcerated friend. And in case you had any doubt as to the autobiographical nature of this song:
All of the songs on Lukas Graham – many already tremendous hits in Europe – are each little insights into Forchhammer’s musical psyche; he’s clearly not afraid to share the personal moments of his life all the while maintaining his sense of humor and humility.
As I write this, Lukas Graham – the band and the person, and, to an extent, the album – are about to embark on nearly-all-sold-out tour of the US, bringing their music, stories, and passion to the masses. This is just the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what other stories Forchhammer has to tell.
(Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler)