Norwegian expatriate soothes with a most sublime set of songs
Artist: Sondre Lerche
Label: Sondre Lerche LLC
★★★★ (4/5 stars)
Norwegian expatriate Sondre Lerche has always had a knack for blending the sensual with the sublime.
Heavily influenced by both ‘80s pop — A-ha and Prefab Sprout, among the more many — as well as the beat of bossanova, he’s integrated a myriad of styles — pop, jazz, ambient, electronica, and psychedelia — into each of the dozen albums he’s released over the past 20 years. His new offering, Patience, follows suit, and the imprint of the music he’s admired is again infused throughout its twelve tracks. Lerche himself says he’s particularly pleased with the results, and he recently shared that satisfaction with Rock and Roll Globe.
“I feel it has a little bit of every record I’ve made in it, actually,” he suggests. “It feels like the most complete summation of who I am and what I’m about — both musically and lyrically. It’s both heightened and sincere. I call it radical sincerity. Expressions that are both bold and dramatic, and sincere and intimate.”
That intimacy is evident in practically every offering, from the sparkle and sheen of “My Love Is Hard To Explain” to the harmonious echoes of the title track, the seductive swoon of “I Love You Because It’s True” and the lithe lullaby “Why Would I Let You Go.” The breezy balladry has always been a constant in Lerche’s work, but the spaciousness and serenity appear more pronounced this time around, perhaps in deference to the title itself.
“For Patience, I was after a sense of minimalism, without sacrificing the emotional impact of the songs,” Lerche reflects. “I learned a lot from ambient music, and composers like Steve Reich.”
Indeed, these songs often seem to drift along casually and unobtrusively, bidding listeners to inch their way closer, rather than capture them on first encounter. There are frequent pauses midway through the melodies, and often only the slightest shimmer, a sound that lends an ethereal ambiance without sacrificing any of their more captivating qualities. Only “You Are Not Who I Thought I Was” and “That’s All There Is” provide any actual uptick in energy, which makes the dreamy delivery a constant throughout.
Lerche insists that his songwriting has always been the most valuable tool of his trade. “I learn so much about myself and the world from writing songs,” he muses. “I’ve tried doing it since I was eight, so it’s such a part of who I am. It’s just what I do, and I always try to do it better, bolder and truer. It’s my life’s great pursuit.”
VIDEO: Sondre Lerche “That’s All There Is”
The follow-up and a spiritual companion of sorts to 2017’s Pleasure and 2014’s Please, Patience is not only part of an obvious trifecta, but also part and parcel of a stylistic stance and his general philosophical approach.
“I think patience is one of my strongest suits,” he insists. “And it was something I was returning to within myself, after the intense touring of Please and Pleasure. But it originally came from what I described as patient music — ambient, abstract and minimalistic — that I suddenly found so joyful and soothing.”
Some might say patience doesn’t always come easy, but when enhanced by such obvious appeal, it’s clear that those rewards are in fact well worth waiting for.