Don’t be fooled.
Lukas Graham, the Danish singer (and band that also bears his name) behind the yearning ballad “7 Years” is not another supersensitive European singer-songwriter like Passenger or Hozier. He has way more swagger and even a sense of humor.
His debut album “Lukas Graham” (Warner Bros.) includes not only sensitive piano-driven pop, but also a healthy helping of soul.
Though it’s easy to see why Team Graham would want songs thematically similar to his smash “7 Years,” including the “Hard Knock Life”-leaning “Mama Said,” his skill is actually in translating his love of R&B into something poppier, as he does in “Drunk in the Morning” and the sleek soul of “Strip No More,” about a guy who falls in love with a stripper in an innocent way.
But it’s the old-school “Don’t You Worry ’Bout Me” where Graham seems most at ease and most distinctive, as he wraps his voice around a ballad that could have come from Marvin Gaye and puts the Charlie Puth song to shame.
“Lukas Graham” is smartly planned and well-crafted, but its real strength is when Graham lets go and sings from his soulful heart.