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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sondre Lerche- Heartbeat Radio

It's hard not to like Sondre Lerche. He kind of reminds me of a cross between Andrew Bird and The Divine Comedy, but with slightly less whistling. Better yet, call him the Broadway version of Chris Isaak crossed with The Old 97's.

That's not to say that his music is without it's charm though. Maybe you all don't love the aforementioned artists as much as I do (well, save for Chris Isaak (okay, fine, he's awesome)) but one of the most appealing things about Lerche is his boyish* voice that acts as the facade for some other wise very mature music. There's a certain complexity to making something sound light and simple while still making it meaningful. Most artists can't achieve that ever, much less multiple times over. Lerche, on the other hand, continues to deliver with every record he releases. Heartbeat Radio is no exception.

His first record, Faces Down, didn't really hit home with me as much as it could have. I definitely heard a unique sound, but save for a few singles, I didn't really love the record like I do some others. That being said, it wasn't bad for a freshman release. My stance officially changed when I heard Two Way Monologue for the first time, a record that still sits in my car CD case to this day, some 5 years after hearing for the first time. It was playful, incorporating themes of love and loss in a way I'd never heard them done before. Lerche sounded like a conductor, orchestrating a single collective vision throughout the entire record. Only then could I return to Faces Down and appreciate it for what it truly was: the roots needed to grow the tree that was Two Way Monologue.

With Heartbeat Radio, Lerche has done it again (and then some!). He sounds comfortable, his voice slightly more controlled and tuned, his melodies aligning with much of his previous work, his instrumentation stronger than ever. He's almost closer to something someone might call "adult contemporary," but without the negative context. It's not muzak, though to the untrained ear, it might come off that way. But that's the brilliance in his work: he makes the real sound surreal. He lends his talent to a sound that is more approachable and better with each passing day. I'd be hard pressed to call this record better than Two Way Monologue, but it clocks in at a close second (and that's only after a handful of listens).

Enjoy "Like Lazenby," from Heartbeat Radio:

*I'm smart enough to know I'll never hear the end of saying I like someone's voice because it is "boyish."

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