We all, presumably, like songs. We like there to be dedicated, sensitive souls to write them and then to sing them, yet, there is something about the term “singer/songwriter” that sets the most open-hearted of us on edge. Maybe it’s how a singer/songwriter lays bare the process of writing and you sometimes feel you are stuck listening to them work out their process when what we want is the song. Thank goodness we have singer/ songwriters like Sondre Lerche.
The Norwegian, teenaged Sondre Lerche emerged on our ears in 2002 fresh faced yet fully formed, seemingly nursed on a steady feed of Scandinavian pop. His arrangements are ABBA airtight, his melodies A-Ha ebullient, an artistic tendency he’s worked through an IKEA-inventory’s worth of styles (Okay, I’ll stop) and honed into mastery with his seventh album Sondre Lerche.
Lerche makes no attempt to mask his influences, possessing at times a Rufus Wainwright theatricality without the torchy baggage. You’d think he’d raided the Smiths’ attic for “Private Caller.” “Go Right Ahead” is like Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana” renovated for half-lidded hipsters in love. “Tied Up to the Tide” presses his breathy charm through a vaguely decadent T. Rex filter.
Thing is, none of these songs are anything more or less than an embodiment of a young man with the his hands on the wheel of his songcraft. You think he’s the only cat on the record and that those strings and accordions and tympani must all just be suggested manifestation from his guileless croon. It’s how you want a singer to sing the songs he wrote.
Sondre Lerche performs at One Eyed Jacks with Peter Wolf Crier, November 13 at 9 p.m. $15.