Editors' pick

Sondre Lerche

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Editorial Review

Album Review: "Heartbreak Radio"

If Hollywood wants to create a modern version of the Rat Pack, Sondre Lerche is a shoe-in.

With his blue eyes, smooth voice and gentlemanly demeanor, the 27-year-old Norwegian possesses the classic charm of generations past. His fifth studio album, "Heartbreak Radio," is a familiar cocktail of jazzy flourishes, robust string accompaniment and pop melodies. Such songs as the breezy "Almighty Moon" and "Easy to Persuade" typify his musical aesthetic: lyrics sung with a wink on top of relaxed acoustic guitar and drums.

"You be words / And I'll be music / Ain't you heard that's how to do it / You're a poem when you're on your own," Lerche sings on "Words & Music," as if he were addressing a room full of platinum blondes sipping martinis.

Although Lerche's modern take on the debonair songsmith provides a reliably pleasant listen, there's nothing particularly exciting about the outing. Lerche is a prolific songwriter as well as a deft musician and song craftsman, but the CD's pleasantries and charm often come at the expense of emotional impact. Attributing the phrase "background music" to Lerche's style seems like a disservice to such carefully rendered music, but his endearing tenor and polished arrangements allow for passive listening.

--Dan Miller, Weekend (March 2010)