Sondre Lerche - Two Way Monologue


A brilliant, yes honestly, brilliant piece of work


Bloody hell, this lad's supposed to be twenty years old. And he's created this album; a brilliant, yes honestly, brilliant piece of work. I mean if this was Paul Simon, there'd be a flurry of broadsheet twittering about the rebirth of classical pop song writing, and we'd all be told to go and get a copy to further ornament that coffee table.

There's something so self assured about the songs showcased on "Two Way Monologue". The writing seems to involve no torment, or inner struggle with demons. Torment, as you doubtless appreciate, is something that singer songwriters are wont to promote in their works. Moreover, it's the wry, puzzled observations that Lerche expresses in the songs that grab you. The lyrics are, (the odd space cadet whimsy aside), outstanding. Incredibly sharp, expansive, though never overtly so, they knock you out with their simplicity and frankness. Then there's his voice. Warm, empathic, reserved. Just perfect for the songs encased in this album, I'd say.

The music never undermines the lyrics by becoming overblown, or emotional. Rather, the sound is stripped back; reminding you much more of the Velvets, The Go Betweens or Aztec Camera. Discipline. That's the word I'm looking for. You never get that twee "mittens for kittens" gush that is sadly all too prevalent in records of this genre.

The title track is a case in point. It's a brilliant evocation of the difficulties involved in trying to explain to your folks that you are going to change the world when all they are trying to do is make you see sense and get that job in marketing. The music starts out softly, almost wearily. The next verse suddenly kicks up a gear as if sonically following the escalation of feelings in the song, followed by a sharp exhalation of choppy guitars to describe the argument now raging. A brief, uneasy truce follows, then a thumping return to the chorus for the ending. I love the way he drops down a gear only for the music to bounce triumphantly back at the song's climax. It's truly wonderful.

I could go on describing all the songs in intimate, loving detail but you'd be here all night getting eyestrain. All I can say is that I hope this fella's going on tour, 'cos if he is I'm in the front row and that's a fact.

Richard Foster