Listen to this track by Norwegian singer-songwriter wunderkind Sondre Lerche. It’s “Domino” as taken from his recent self-titled album Sondre Lerche, actually his sixth album. These days, that’s pretty prolific for someone who’s not yet thirty years old. It’s pretty prolific for an artist of any age.
This is one of the many ways that Lerche is something of a throwback to the classic pop period when album-a-year (sometimes more) work schedules, and tours to support them, were a matter of course.
This of course is beside the fact that Lerche’s skill as a pop craftsman, and with energetic on-stage performances have wowed audiences in North America as well as in Europe.
His ability to take Beatlesque guitar hooks, jazzy melodies that suit his appealing croon of a voice, and with interesting and sonically varied touches in the arrangements to support the whole have made his work a standout. This of course is the result of a unique mentorship process.
Lerche had been writing songs since he was an early teen in Bergen Norway, discovered by producer HP Gunderson, who exposed Lerche to a variety of pop music traditions to support Lerche’s already fertile pop smarts as a songwriter. After passing his exams, he was ready for a debut record, accolades as a new artist in Norway, tours with artists like Beth Orton, and a growing capacity for writing songs that sound as though they’ve always been around.
And “Domino”, a new track from his newest record is a shining example of the kind of pop song that sounds familiar, yet with musical ingredients that are difficult to identify, although 60s orchestral pop, psych, and even jazz can be detected. Arranged in a sort of pop/rock jazz waltz, the song lilts along, evoking the warm textures of classic pop radio, and with just a hint of melancholy that has you scanning the lines, and inviting you to delve deeper. It’s pop craftsmanship that is refined, and yet not so refined as to be drained of its personality.
As mentioned in my interview with Kishi Bashi, who opened for Sondre Lerche a month or so back at the Biltmore Cabaret here in Vancouver, his live performances are collaborative, and very energetic. So, besides being a prolific songwriter, he’s also an enthusiastic live act, with skills that reflect the appeal of his recordings without being just a rehash of the records. That’s something of a throwback to a golden age, too.
For more information, check out Sondre Lerche’s official website