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Sondre Lerche – Sondre Lerche (Review)

Sondre Lerche, LP

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

NORWEGIAN born, Brooklyn based artist Sondre Lerche releases his eponymous album in the UK off the back of general acclaim in the US but, sadly, underwhelms.
Described as something of a defining sound for the artist, it also allegedly boasts some of his most interesting arrangements and catchy song-writing to date, but also some of his most sombre and introspective.

Admittedly, some of these are catchy by virtue of its easy-going melodies at certain points. But sometimes the album fails to gel and there’s no one really standout track to set things on fire.

Indeed, the longer the album lasts, the more indifferent towards it I became, especially as the tempo changed towards the more sombre.

Songs like Living Dangerously, while exhibiting a classic sensibility befitting some of the timeless artists of our generation, and Tied Up To The Tide, lack any real punch, especially as Lerche’s slightly off-key vocals become all the more pronounced.

The opening moments of first track Ricochet also suffer from relying too heavily on Lerche’s vocals, unfolding in virtually a capella fashion with just a spare acoustic strum as a backdrop for the opening minute and a half or so. It’s gentle pacing then fails to ignite the album as an opening track should.

Lerche would probably have done better switching it with Private Caller, which is one of the few genuinely catchy offerings, and a much more vibrant track.

Alas, Red Flags – with all its naked drama – slows things back down in spite of some playful lyrics, relying once more on those off-key delivery. It can be quite distracting.

Sondre Lerche was recorded live in the studio and mixed in a short but intense time period of three weeks. Its sessions included help from Midlake drummer McKenzie Smith, long-time producer/collaborator Kato Adland, Dave Heilman, drummer for Lerche-collaborator Regina Spektor and co-producer, mixer and owner of Rare Book Room Studio Nicolas Verhnes.

Alas, the urgency suggested in that process is only rarely apparent to positive effect, with the tribal pop of Go Right Ahead and album closer When The River leaving you pining for what might have been.

Download picks: Private Caller, Go Right Ahead, When The River

Track listing:

  1. Ricochet
  2. Private Caller
  3. Red Flags
  4. Go Right Ahead
  5. Coliseum Town
  6. Never Mind The Typos
  7. Domino
  8. Living Dangerously
  9. Tied Up To The Tide
  10. When The River