Sondre Lerche - Heartbeat Radio

Hugh Worskett 18/09/2009

Rating: 2/5

On paper at least, Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche deserves our attention. Multi-platinum sales in Norway, a duet with Regina Spektor and support slots with Elvis Costello and Beth Orton all suggest his star is rising.

Sondre Lerche certainly knows a trick or two. But so does a dog that's been taught to play dead.

And like the dog that plays dead, Lerche's latest album, 'Heartbeat Radio' is of little consequence and offers no more than a brief, and somewhat dim, spectacle.

Now if the dog went the whole hog and actually were dead, I would probably peer at it with a macabre sense of curiosity and maybe prod it a bit to see if there was anything interesting inside. “Someone's gone to some effort here, I'd better take a look.” Likewise with Lerche, if I felt he wasn't so preoccupied with his craft I would probably want to explore further. Unfortunately there's a self-awareness at work that must be as uncomfortable for him as it is for us.

I am not saying this is badly made - it's not. The problem is more fundamental. Lerche seems disconnected from the songs and as a result they lack personality, both lyrically and musically. As such the album has less and less to offer with each listen, like the trick that loses its shine through overexposure.

Heartbeat Radio is released 5th October
Sondre Lerche tours the UK from October 7th 2009