New Music Monday: Sondre Lerche
“Bad Law” establishes Lerche’s vocal vulnerability and struggle with control, but also establishes another theme that runs throughout the record: the darkness that rises when love and law collide, building to the musing, “When crimes are passionate, can love be separate?” Sondre says of “Bad Law”: “Bad Law came charged with this urge to play a simple song that would allow people (and myself, I suppose) to ventilate anger and frustration, to get happy, dance like idiots and ultimately feel a little better, despite everything going to shit. I hope people lose it to this song.”
An artist’s capability to transform suffering into great work is one of humanity’s great phenomena. When considering the “divorce” subcategory of suffering and the “music” subcategory of art, the manifestation has traditionally tended toward the dirge (e.g. Dylan’s “Blood On The Tracks,” Mitchell’s “Blue). Please, Sondre Lerche’s stunning new album, however, is a different animal: despite aligning with a recent divorce from his wife of eight years, it is brimming with crisp electronic flourishes, bold, economic production, and an infectious new energy and sense of purpose.
The juxtaposition of romantic idealism and the chaotic struggle to live up to said ideals is meticulously explored: for the first time in his career, Lerche is presented unraveled. The moans and wails are unedited, and the cutting room floor is clean. Lerche has always written about love, but never in such a primal, sexual way. His well-proven melodic instincts are sharper than ever, but he’s moved from the brain to the body, from the soulful to the physical.
Lerche has been incredibly busy since the release of his 2011 self-titled LP and his 2012 live album, Bootlegs. Aside from touring internationally and releasing his 2013 Scott Walker-cover “The Plague” and “Public Hi-Fi Sessions”, a collaboration with Spoon’s Jim Eno, Lerche spent 2013 creating the celebrated score for his then-wife’s (Mona Fastvold) directorial debut and Sundance hit The Sleepwalker.