Mr Little Jeans - Pocketknife [Album Review]
Today comes the day that a lot of bloggers and music fans have looked forward to. Nordic songstress Monica Birkenes (aka Mr Little Jeans) has finally released her long-awaited debut album, Pocketknife. While I first heard of Mr Little Jeans back in 2010 (I think?) through an RAC remix of "Rescue Song", it wasn't until I heard her incredible cover of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" that I fell in love.
On Pocketknife, Birkenes writes, sings, and even tries her hand in production. Previously-released singles like the aforementioned "Rescue Song" and "The Suburbs" are joined with a plethora of new material like "Far From Home", the penultimate song on the album. Far From Home is one of those songs that begs for silence to be enjoyed, and will leave you with a sense of stillness with its simplicity. My favourite track from the album has to be "Oh Sailor". This song was one of the singles that Mr Little Jeans gave prior to the album (actually it came out almost a year ago) but I don't think I took the time to appreciate it. The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale (who previously worked with Ryan Gosling on 2009's Dead Man's Bones) add their voice to give the chorus an anthem-like quality to contrast with the more toned-down verse.
The biggest flaw I can find in this album is that Birkenes, with her very soft and wispy voice, can sometimes be lost against a song's larger-than-life production. One of the better analogies I've heard about this problem was that her voice "loses traction more than a drunken girl’s high heels on a wet tiled floor."
Mr Little Jeans is the latest proof that Scandinavia can produce some incredible pop music and she joins the ranks of Miike Snow and Lykke Li with her unique genre of electronic pop. This album may have some flaws, but the whimsical voice of Birkenes combined with beautiful production make this album consistently charming, and it is one of my favourites of the year thus far.
Pick up your copy of Pocketknife here