Jesper Lindell’s Twilights proves music is a borderless universal language that makes us feel connected to the limitless human experience. That’s what makes an Americana songwriter like Lindell being from Sweden so special. Tapping into a gritty authenticity few artists achieve over a lifetime, this young man has found his groove.
The album features a connection to one of the quintessential American rock sonic legacies via Amy Helm, daughter of The Band’s Levon Helm. For those of us less familiar with international artists, Swedish singer Klara Söderberg (one half of sister-duo First Aid Kit) and French rocker Theo Lawrence round out the sound and the lush sonic textures. The ten-song album was written during the lockdown periods of our past two years and recorded by Lindell and Björn Pettersson in Brunnsvik, Sweden.
Influences as diverse as Savoy Brown, The Creeps, and Grand Funk Railroad show in the genius oozing from each note, starting from the downbeat of opener “Western Rain” and strutting on into the tunes ahead. Warm and funky to the core, the bass line grooves wrap lusciously around Lindell’s warm vocal tones. The brilliant “There Comes a Tie” is a love song of heartbreak that is one of the most beautiful expressions of these feelings I’ve ever heard. The production choices here are sheer perfection: a taste of strings and French café transforms this collection of notes into a time capsule. Amazing!
Lindell’s rich vocal timbre resonates with each lyric of “Leave a Light On,” with its flashbacks that bring the great Glen Campbell to mind. Longing and hope peppered with horns fail to distract from the incredible vocal range here. It’s a masterclass in narrative songwriting delivered to perfection. “Twilight” follows, featuring Amy Helm. Embracing the connection to The Band’s classic work, this song’s re-imagination honors the original like a warm fire of familiarity on a cold winter’s night.
“Dance” taps into an uptempo New Orleans vibe with guest Lawrence. The album next wanders into “White Lines” with its introspective darkness. Sonically, the track is rich in instrumentation, contrasting most of the record. Much like Grand Funk Railroad, slide guitar and synthesizers create a new depth. “Christmas Card” is that real lament that we have all been hesitant to write, the gut wrenching truth about what’s really going on.
With “Nights Like These,” a connection to songwriters like John Paul White comes to mind. Connecting the simple parts, navigating life in a relatable way that feels right? Well, that is an art. Closing out the record with songs like “Living Easy” seems the best way to say goodbye to a new best friend, one step at a time. Hearing Lindell’s falsetto opening “Into the Blue” feels like nothing I have ever heard, words seem to defile its beauty.
Jesper Lindell’s Twilights sits firmly at the top of 2022’s best. In hindsight, this album is one of the greatest gifts the pandemic brought me. —Lisa Whealy