Everywhere you turn in the music industry these days, people will tell you that music is in crisis. Then along comes someone like SONDRE LERCHE to restore your faith.
Lerche emerged from Bergen, Norway, three years ago at the age of 18 with his debut album, Faces Down. The youngest of four siblings, he grew up on 1980s pop and began learning the guitar at the age of eight. He wrote his first song at 14 and was playing acoustic nights in a Bergen club when he wasn’t even legally old enough even to be in there.
By the time he was 17, he was signed to Virgin Norway. A brace of EPs introduced him to the Norwegian charts, but he held off the release of Faces Down, recorded in 2000, until after he had finished school the following year. Ambitious, diverse, melodic, tough-edged, Faces Down was as impossible to categorize as you would imagine from a list of influences that include Burt Bacharach, Jeff Buckley, High Llamas, Elvis Costello, Steely Dan, Beck, and Cole Porter. The album was an instant hit in Norway and critically well-received in Europe and the U.S., and extensive touring further enhanced Sondre’s reputation.
Lerche fulfilled the promise of his precocious debut with Two Way Monologue, an audacious second album of vividly melodic songs that range from fragile acoustics to the almost symphonic variations of the title track. With the finely wrought detail of the arrangements, which include accordion, pedal steel, and French horn, Two Way Monologue could be subtitled Crisis? What Crisis?