Being a musician often involves finding the right balance between emotional and private communication, an eclectic approach and a clear musical identity. Somehow, Danish bassist and composer, Jens Mikkel Madsen, has found this difficult balance and the proof is the album Kiss Your Darlings, from his ensemble I Think You Are Awesome.
In fact, since the beginning, Madsen already had a clear idea of the musical direction of the band. It had to be a band that could move in different musical directions. Jazz, acoustic folk, pop stylings and post-rock are all genres that find their way into the musical expression and, at the same time, there is an identity that unites it all, which is underlined by the distinctive visual art of Simon Eskildsen that has graced all album covers, including Kiss Your Darlings.
The name of the album is also a good description of Madsen's aesthetic. It is not about leaving something out to create a lean style. Instead, the music is about embracing diversity, both in terms of styles and moods. "Bill" is an elaborate ambient faux-western instrumental with spherical distorted guitar and "Warm Milk" is a touching piece of delicate blue-eyed soul pop with Madsen praising the comfort of his loved one in a soothing voice.
"Anxiety" is another deep cut, an epic ballad the uses the effects of dramatic drums and rock guitars to reach a climax while "Spring" is a light contrast with an acoustic bass groove, breezy saxophones and flutes, tinkling piano and the voices of Madsen and Marie Malmø singing "it's spring let's sing and think of good things / the season will bring."
Using a wealth of musical instruments and combining vocal and instrument tracks, Madsen has found a way into a universe that is both playful, serious and tender. The music combines the adventurousness of experimental instrumental music with the virtues of eclectic indie pop and thoughtful lyrics. An awesome mixture.
Bill; Warm Milk; Spring; Rebel Without Applause; Cheers; The Same Way As You Walk; America; Anxiety.
Lars Fiil: keys, piano; Alex Jönsson: guitar; Morten Kærup Hjort: guitars and banjo; Frej Lesner: percussion,
electronics; Andreas Skamby: drums; Jens Mikkel: electric and acoustic bass, vocals; Mirja Kippel: vocals
(#2, #5); Maria Malmø: vocals (#3, #6); Chappe: saxophone (#3); Maria Isabel Edlund: cello (#3); Mathias
Jæger: keys, piano (#3); Christian Vuust: saxophone (#6).
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