CD Review: Sondre Lerche — Heartbeat Radio; Playing Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C. March 5

Sondre Lerche

Heartbeat Radio


During the summer in Bergen, Norway the sun stays
out for 24 hours; in the winter months, however, you are lucky to squeeze out an
hour of daylight. The extra dosage of Vitamin D has clearly done Norwegian
transplant Sondre Lerche some good; his sixth album Heartbreak Radio,
released in September, is filled with the simplicities of life and love,
swooningly strung together with the masterful composition that has already made
the 27-year-old a music veteran. But cynics beware, this carefully composed
collection will leave its sunny residue humming in your head all

Produced by Kato Adland, Heartbreak Radio is
Lerche’s creative follow up to his 2007 soundtrack album from super-sappy Dan
in Real Life
. The album is an eclectic blending of the many top hats Lerche
has defined himself by: pop rocker, jazz swinger, quirky composer. A musical
Fred Astaire, Lerche’s silky voice glides over each other song, stringing
together notes like pirouettes on ice. Although the record would be filed under "Orchestral Pop,” the instruments sprinkled on the album range from trombone and
banjo to saxophone and strings.
Although there are certain moments on the album’s
single and namesake “Heartbeat Radio” that are Rufus-reminiscent, the song is
filled with clever lyrics and dancing strings worthy enough for any Von Trapp
singalong. “I Cannot Let You Go” strides in afterwards leaving you with
sufficient evidence of Lerche’s innate talent. The song is immediately tuneful
and crisp with acoustic guitars and shakers. 
“If Only” is a Stevie Wonder lookalike, with faux
hip-hop beats, and “Pioneer” could very well be in the McCartney catalog (which
makes sense since Lerche admittedly claims most of the songs on the album are
directly influenced by the Fab Four’s mid-'60s output).

The string arrangements on Heartbreak Radio
are what truly make this album stand out. Lerche has some of the best current
musicians on this album, and knows exactly where to place them. His lyrics are
tricky, yet sarcastic, and at times nauseatingly sweet. A colorful collage of
his best work, the album will be quickly embraced by Lerche fans, and leave even
the most bitter skeptics tapping their toes.

Sondre Lerche plays Rock and Roll Hotel March 5. Tickets are on sale at Ticket Alternative.

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