Chicago Drive-In

Facing out

| June 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

The gesture has become almost customary, so much so that it’s almost empty, but self-titling an album late in an artist’s career is supposed to mark a new beginning. In Sondre Lerche‘s case, it’s belated.

It’s not simply the case of a solo artist recalibrating, but one operating without his longtime band, The Faces Down Quartet. Lerche was so fond of his crew that he lamented during his second tour of the States that they weren’t mentioned on his sophomore record’s spine, where they would be emblazoned later for Duper Sessions. With Faces Down, Lerche’s guitar playing (a jazzy yet caustic taste of Chet Atkins) shot to the fore, and seemed to add some grit to his soft face and delightfully plucky Norwegian accent.

On Sondre Lerche (Yep Roc), his third straight record attributed solely to him, he collaborates with a couple people but mostly works on his own. And he sounds alone, caged. On “Red Flags,” he sings on the edge of his voice, wavering and surprisingly raw and flawed in his delivery. It suits the rest of the album, which feels immediate and unfussy. The production helps take some of the focus off the melodies, which seem the least sure of any in his catalog. (Saturday@Schubas and Sunday@Lincoln Hall with Nightlands and Kishi Bashi.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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