Sondre Lerche | Patience | (Sondre Lerche LLC)
Four out of Five Stars
Currently a resident of L.A., Norwegian-born singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche shares a distinctly European sensibility. Although he was influenced early on by the sound of ‘80s pop and Brazilian bossanova, he’s expanded his musical vision clearly and consistently over the course of the dozen albums he’s released since setting up shop in 2000. Given his diverse musical palette — one that easily transitions between pop, jazz, ambient, electronica, and psychedelia — he’s not an easy artist to classify. Nevertheless, there’s fascination found in ever single setting, and his new album, Patience, is no exception.
In fact, the album is aptly titled. Its songs require one to lean in and listen, a series of soundscapes that mostly emphasize atmosphere and ambiance. To be sure, Lerche doesn’t negate melody, but oftentimes he shares it simply through suggestion, allowing for a minimalist approach that finds serenity and spaciousness to exist in equal measure. Needless to say, that tack begets an intimate set of songs, from the lush embrace of the title track to quiet caress of the album’s final fluid send-off “My Love Is Hard To Explain.” In-between, the music takes on a seductive sheen, whether it’s through the delicate designs of “I Love You Because It’s True,” and the lullaby-like “Why Would I Let You Go,” the sweet serendipity of “Are We Alone Now” and the wistful strains that provide “Put the Camera Down” with its all its sensuality and suggestion.
The songs mostly drift along at a casual pace — one that’s airy, elusive and otherwise unobtrusive. There’s plenty of space found within the arrangements, sometimes offering an occasional pause as the shimmer gives way to silence. It’s an approach that’s often elusive by design, infused with a new age sensibility that allow the melodies to linger in the ethos while still making an imprint all at the same time.
The most persistent pacing is found in the brass-infused “You Are Not Who I Thought I Was,” the busy beat of “That’s All There Is” and a comparatively perky “I Can’t See Myself Without You.” Still, there’s a consistency in the breathless balladry and sublime sentiment, a delivery that finds it at one with its immediate predecessors, 2017’s Pleasure and 2014’s Please, two albums that share their successor’s essential emotions as well as its delicate designs. It’s obvious then that Patience pays off in both its eloquence and expression. We live in a troubled world, but Lerche deserves credit for helping to keep us all calm.