Album Review of Lukas Graham by Lukas Graham.
Release Date: Apr 1, 2016
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
Lukas Graham -- the funky Danish band named after its charismatic frontman -- released their sophomore self-titled album in their home country in 2015. It went on to become a hit, spending nearly 20 weeks atop the Danish album charts and spawning the international hit, "7 Years." In 2016, Lukas Graham released that breakthrough -- nicknamed the Blue Album -- in the United States, just as "7 Years" climbed toward the top of the Billboard charts. Packed with jovial doses of soulful pop/rock that recalled the catchiest of Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5, Lukas Graham also sprinkled in Ronson-esque throwback flourishes atop the classic songcraft of Billy Joel.
Balancing old and new-school soul with Bruno Mars panache, this Danish singer's debut is a fine argument for pop optimism. His string-buoyed hit "7 Years" collapses Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game" into the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" for a life-journey meditation. "Drunk in the Morning" is a piano-and-brass-driven booty call conjuring both Drake and Chicago's "Saturday in the Park." Even the album's Auto-Tune hollers come off like heartwarming oldies gestures.
Lukas Graham Forchhammer, to give this Danish songwriter/frontman his full name, has scored the biggest hit of 2016 so far with 7 Years. Intriguingly, though, where most listeners hear an earnest, growing-up ballad, Forchhammer and his band hear “ghetto pop”. That’s their term for their music, but it’s not borne out on either the single or this album.
What a nice guy Lukas Graham Forchhammer is — respectful toward his parents, hard-working, grateful to be heard. He’s the singer, lyricist and leader of a Danish band, Lukas Graham, that is releasing its American debut album with what’s already an international hit, “7 Years.” In that song, he cherishes his parents’ advice about how to get through the decades of life, mourns his father’s death and looks forward to children of his own. It’s the kind of growing-up-and-aging-gracefully song that’s a country-music staple.
A reflective song about an AARP father rarely turns into a hit, but Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” has defied the odds, storming the international charts. The Danish group’s tuneful second album, filled with accessible, infectious pop, is bound to follow. The band, led by reedy vocalist Lukas Graham Forchhammer, has been labeled soulful, which is true only if soul is defined by early Maroon 5.