Danish pop band Lukas Graham (named after the lead singer) knows how to churn out tunes catchy enough to hum along to even on the first listen, as if the melodies were already floating around in your psyche, just waiting to be brought to life.
What sets the band apart on its second, self-titled studio album is Lukas Graham Forchhammer’s moving, raw delivery. 7 Years is solid proof of the 27-year-old’s ability to tell a life story within a four-minute song, with a beautiful piano melody and lyrical themes of love, loneliness, dreams and success.
Mama Said is equally brilliant, a peppy, infectious recount of Forchhammer’s poor upbringing and being bullied for dreaming big. Children’s vocals back up the chorus, and there’s a touch of cockiness when Forchhammer wags a finger in the face of older kids who “were calling me a wannabe”.
Forchhammer’s vocals shine the brightest in ballads Better Than Yourself (Criminal Mind Pt. 2) and What Happened To Perfect. The first was arranged over Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as Forchhammer grieves over a friend in jail with soulful, goosebump-inducing vocals.
The band could have been more daring in some other songs, but hopefully there’ll be many more albums after this for that.