Sondre Lerche & the Faces Down Quartet | Duper Sessions (Astralwerks)

You can see the couples moving on the dance floor with good ol’ Sondre Lerche crooning softly in the background with the Faces Down Quartet bopping Scandi-style in a music hall.

 

21st century pop albums, Duper Sessions embodies contemporary music that can stand strong on its own two feet while bridging the generation gap. Anyone can listen and appreciate its subtle tones and rich romantic textures; this is pop melody at its best. You can see the couples moving on the dance floor with good ol’ Sondre Lerche crooning softly in the background with the Faces Down Quartet bopping Scandi-style in a music hall.

Lerche is a Norwegian born singer/songwriter/guitarist/bandleader with an old soul, wise beyond his mere 23 years. With amazing aplomb, Lerche drifted from his previous complex arrangements on Faces Down and Two Way Monologue, and delivers a more traditional collection of snappy pop songs with drifting melodies and elegant jazz flourishes.

Duper Sessions was named after the studio in Norway where Lerche and his quartet of musicians hunkered down and recorded the album. Boldly, Duper Sessions includes 13 songs, three of which are covers: Cole Porter’s wonderfully interpreted “Night and Day,” recorded live in just one take, a windswept version of Elvis Costello’s “Human Hands,” and Prefab Sprout’s jazzy “Nightingales.”

With the goal of less structure, the band recorded Duper Sessions in a fairly short period of time with minimal overdubs. Each song is fairly compact, lasting an average of two and a half minutes to three minutes. Opening with light, upbeat piano chords, “Everyone’s Rooting for You” sets the tone for Duper Sessions. “Minor Detail” features a twinkling guitar intro and emotional vocals. Lerche pines lyrically on the troubles with relationships, observing, “The sun here on my left and that piano on the right is my date/It’s a major minor detail/It’s a solitary sequel to never knowing…”

Swiftly, “Across the Land” lasts just over a minute, yet despite the haste is a fun song that you wish would keep going. A sad “Dead End Mystery” displays an eerie slide guitar pedal with haunting falsetto vocals by Lerche. It turns into a slow pop ballad that has a dab of country music bitterness. “(I Wanna) Call It Love” is a whimsical love song that could easily be a number in an old-fashioned musical production. Picture, if you will, a boy dancing in the rain with an umbrella as his partner after saying goodbye to the girl on the front porch. Cue the orchestra!

Joyously, Lerche and the Faces Down Quartet created a timeless body of music for fans no matter how old—or young—your parents might be.


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