SHOW PREVIEW: 9:30 Presents Sondre Lerche at U Street Music Hall
Norwegian darling Sondre Lerche releases Please tomorrow, September 23. It is Lerche’s first collection of brand new songs since his 2011 eponymous album. And just three days later, he’ll be in town for a show at U Street Music Hall.
The singer-songwriter has been professionally recording for 14 years now. He was discovered as a Bergen teen, playing underage in a club where his older sister worked. He completed his debut LP, Faces Down, in 2000, but the release was delayed until 2001 in Norway so that he could finish high school. The record did not reach the States until 2002, where it was noticed. Six albums later, Lerche has maintained comfortable popularity worldwide.
Lerche is a melody-maker; a master of arrangements. He has a firm grasp of sounds, effortlessly moving throughout genres. Classifying his music is so easy, it’s hard. His cherished A-ha, Elvis Costello, and bossa nova can be heard all at once. The lyrics are quirky - at times amusing in their simplicity and flatness - an endearing quality that can be found only in the English of a foreigner.
Slight of build, Lerche still possesses, in essence, the exact same doe-eyed-face of his 17 year old self. He is particularly beloved in his home country and recently appeared on a Norwegian postage stamp, looking like a cosmonaut. Actually, he always somewhat looks like a cosmonaut, a Soviet one—think Yuri Gagarin—bright, calm, earnest.
As Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks is often referred to as his “divorce album,” so we have Lerche’s. After 7 years of marriage, Lerche and actress/model/director Mona Fastvold quietly divorced in 2013. (They met when she appeared as “The Girl” in the music video to accompany “Days That Are Over,” off Two Way Monologue.) His label, on which Please will appear, is (still) called Mona Records.
The first single, “Bad Law,” is uncharacteristically biting. Hear him sing-song-sneer the lyrics of the electro-dance track, alongside a fuzzy guitar. It’s fun! But almost not quite. The accompanying video features a sloppy Lerche terrorizing his way through a party - tearing down streamers, gulping liquor from the bottle, dancing like a fool possessed - and was apparently based on actual events. Check it out; he gives one hell of a performance.
Making music half his life, Lerche has remained ostensibly inoffensive, charming, profanity-free. At the risk of sounding crass, let’s look forward to some edge from this handsome boy-wonder.