Lenka | Lenka

Epic (2008)
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  October 1, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
Remember Frente!, the Australian combo responsible for that mid-’90s acoustic cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”? Lenka does: a few months ago this pint-sized diva from Down Under posted a similarly cutesy rendition of Modest Mouse’s “Gravity Rides Everything” to her MySpace page. Now, on her solo debut, she sounds determined to update the super-sunshiny folk pop of Frente!’s Marvin the Album. Lenka used to sing for a Mogwai-influenced electro-psych outfit called Decoder Ring, yet there’s nothing moody (or in need of decoding) here. “Life is a maze and love is a riddle,” she reveals in “The Show,” a bouncy, brass-flecked number in which she decides the best way to cope with confusion is to let it go and enjoy the show. Elsewhere, over a bubbly bongo groove in “Trouble Is a Friend,” she figures that since she can’t shake misfortune, she might as well make it feel at home. Producer Mike Elizondo embellishes the music with bells and whistles (both literal and figurative), but he keeps the spotlight on the singer’s airy little-girl coo. He knows that sugar can stand only so much sweetening.
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