By Tristan Laferriere
Sondre Lerche is no new face in the music scene. Since 2001, this Norwegian-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has been giving audiences who crave a taste for pop and indie rock with a touch of jazz the meal they desire. Now he’s back in 2014 with a whole new album, “Please” — a combination of some new sounds that stick to the old Sondre Lerche style that fans of his previous albums will enjoy, but with spice added to the beats to create a new vibe for the overall demeanor.
Released on Tuesday, Sept. 23, “Please” is the ninth studio album to come out of the inspiration of Sondre Lerche. If you’ve never heard of Lerche before, don’t feel bad. While his music has been well-known to a generation of underground indie-rock fans, he has kept a pretty humble view and has been sort of a best-kept secret in the music industry.
My personal discovery of Lerche’s music came from walking into a used record shop in SoHo to find his second album, “Two Way Monologue,” on the discount CD rack. I was intrigued by the visuals on the jewel case, so I grabbed it, played it and instantly loved it the whole ride home. With this new set of sounds, “Please” lives up to the standards of Lerche fans such as myself and adds a little something extra.
New listeners may find the album has a similar presence to Florence and the Machine, with a rather theatrical performance and powerful melodies. It’s quite different if you’re used to Lerche’s days of “Two Way Monologue,” and at first, it seems drastically different, but overall, it’s a refreshing change.
The song “Bad Law” was instantly catchy and quickly grew on me, becoming one of my favorite tracks from the artist. Then, at times, I was brought back to that softer sound that I was used to with Lerche’s music when I reached tracks like “Crickets” and “At Times We Live Alone.” Sometimes Lerche’s softer tracks use a haunting melody while he sings with a speaking voice, similar in tone and style to Jason Mraz. Fans of Mraz will be very pleased with Sondre Lerche, as the two share very congruent and dynamic voices.
If I had to choose a favorite track from “Please,” it would be a difficult feat. However, the classic Sondre Lerche sound mixed with a new sensation is best presented in “Sentimentalist.” A chilling melody indeed, Sondre takes the style fans are used to and gives it an almost new-age feeling with his hauntingly beautiful voice echoing into our ears in a way that I’ve never heard before. Lerche has a way of keeping the listener in an upbeat mood while listening to his songs, but at the same time, throws in a few tracks that really make you stop and enjoy the melancholy melodies he is a master at creating.
Overall, “Please” is very, well, pleasing to the ears, and while I recommend some of his earlier albums for new listeners to start with, this new release is definitely one of his best.