Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sondre Lerche - Sondre Lerche (2011)

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I had the opportunity to hear Sondre Lerche's latest album, his self-titled sixth outing, early last month at his Union Pool listening party/live show and one of the things I realized was just how long his songs stuck with me. After just one listen, I had several of the melodies stuck in my head for at least a week. It was this staying power that made me incredibly eager to get my hands on the album as soon as I could.

An album 10 years in the making, Sondre Lerche utilizes past strengths like genre-defying versatility and honest sincerity while featuring Lerche's most innovative songwriting to date. One thing I learned during my listening to Heartbeat Radio is not to be fooled by Lerche's stylistic poppy dressings, if you do that you lose so much of what he's trying to say. On this outing, the tunes are not quite so upbeat, allowing themselves to convey their messages not just lyrically but also instrumentality. Duper Sessions era jazziness ("Never Mind the Typos") and splashes of Phantom Punch's hard rock edge ("Go Right Ahead", "Private Caller") are just a few of the tools Lerche uses, proving he doesn't have to throw out everything he's learned and experimented with in the pursuit of new songs. Sondre Lerche is also an album that's not afraid of being unpretty. Sure it's got a clean, polished feel and flawless string arrangements for the wide majority but there's also moments when it lets itself get a little dirty ("Never Mind The Typos", "Tied Up To The Tide").

Sondre Lerche is a pleasant surprise of an album. It both manages to completely redefine what you might expect from Lerche while also remaining true to Lerche's characteristic sound without seeming overdone or like you're listening to just another album on his back catalog. While its lyrics aren't as noticeably intrusive as Heartbeat Radio, they still manage to portray the truthfulness you've come to expect from Lerche. It's an album that's a surefire favorite.

Don't believe me? Watch the video to "Private Caller" and see.

Private Caller (official video) from Sondre Lerche on Vimeo.

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