MIC’s Listen to Norway series continues with Sondre Lerche’s 'Two Way Monologue'.
Sondre Lerche is the Kundun of Norwegian pop music; the chosen one. And not just by the industry the media and the people, but prior to that it seems: he is unusual, to say the least. His indisputable talent is rare in the way of its sluggishness; it’s as if it was already coupled with decades of experience and age-refinement from the start. And this observation somehow accords with the impression of the person: He has the air of the sage about him; the enigmatic fusion of serenity and bubbling energy combined with a strange distance that makes you think that he’s from somewhere else; he knows something or is in touch with something we don’t know of.
His songs convey this modest mystery too, there’s a residue to them regarding recognizability and category. Most are singer–songwriter tunes; seemingly transparent, and a majority of them on the side of the “good and the beautiful”, but SL’s music is always also in some sort of intimacy with something more oblique; something darker and perhaps not present except as substratum. His songs are never just beautiful; there is resistance and a counterforce present; a force that elevates the result to something unexpected from such a young artist.
His words share many of these properties: balancing between the naïve and the obscure, between the sunny and the tarnished. In many ways there is uniqueness to the art of SL, but at the same time he places himself firmly in a tradition where the mentioned qualities have long since been established: the folk- singer gone pop-musician, bringing the sincerity of the mature expression into fusion with the lightness of technology and urbanism. Critics agree: he is special, special in a quiet, manageable way. In the States they love this, and they love him. He’s loved elsewhere too, not least at home, even though some have a hard time figuring him out.