“Love, sweet love, it’s all we know” is the main lyrical hook to the first track of Lenka’s recent release, “Shadows.” This line not only is an effective way to communicate the pure innocent love that Lenka effectively expresses through her sweet yet sensual vocals on the album, but also marks the beginning of the emotional journey that is is conceptually presented in the Australian singer-songwriter’s third studio album. As a sidenote, If the name Lenka sounds familiar to you, it may be because her track “Everything at Once” was used in the official Windows 8 TV advertisement that features a memorably simple piano ditty, with traditional indie electronica sounds layered over it.
Ultimately this album does exactly what it sets out to do. The first few tracks on the release are jubilant anthems that express the cheerful and honeymoonish aspects of a new relationship, and this changes as the album progresses, much like a relationship itself. To keep the music from becoming too twee, as one would not like to eat too many spoonfuls of sugar lest they become a blob, Lenka effectively breaks the trend of expressing the innocence of new love with the haunting “After the Winter”. While the lyrics are very optimistic, as Lenka is telling her love interest that she will peel away the facade of her love interest and “tunnel” her way to his heart, you help but get the sense that things may go awry. Following suit with the slow tempo, the track “Honeybee” may contain the most pessimistic line of the release “do you know you bring me so much pain?” Before you go ahead and think Lenka has lost her sunny disposition, she lets you know she still has hope for the relationship for requests for the love interest to keep everything together. The most effective part of this release in my opinion is the way the tracks essentially document a whole relationship in order from start to finish. I’ll try not to give any spoilers, but the first track is called “Nothing Here but Love” and the last two tracks are called “Nothing” and “The Top of Memory Lane.” I’ll let you do the math.
If I had to compare Lenka with Taylor Swift (they both sing endlessly about relationships – bare with me), I’d say that Lenka draws her main inspiration not from the heartbreak and painful aspects of love, but chooses to be more balanced in expressing elements of the emotional spectrum that a relationship can allow a human to feel.