Sondre Lerche Heartbeat Radio

Sondre Lerche Heartbeat Radio
After charming European audiences and North American critics with his debut, Faces Down, Norwegian Sondre Lerche has spent the ensuing years stylistically diversifying his sound with a steady stream of albums, EPs and singles. With "Two Way Monologue," Lerche successfully distilled his indie rock, jazz and pop standard influences into one track but has so far been unable, or perhaps unwilling, to stretch that approach out into a full album. His fifth long-player, Heartbeat Radio, is the closest he's come to accomplishing this, and for that alone it's a worthwhile listen for anyone who's ever had a fleeting interest in Lerche's work. And while it is an accomplished collection of guitar-driven pop songs, it lacks the visceral energy that made "Two Way Monologue" so enticing. What's more, Lerche's ability as an arranger continues to far outstrip his talents as a lyricist. And though that might be an unfair complaint for an artist singing in an adoptive language, his inability to turn a truly memorable phrase does detract from his denser sonic material. Still, Heartbeat Radio is a fine album from an artist showing no signs of slowing down his continuous evolution. (Rounder)