Essential New Music: Sondre Lerche’s “Pleasure”

For more than a decade, Norwegian-turned-New-Yorker Sondre Lerche explored confessional singer/songwriter reveries, Burt Bacharach-tinted chamber pop and the kitchen-sink gamut of country/blues/psych-folk, much of it with a jazzy undertone. With 2014’s Please, Lerche channeled his inner David Byrne and fully connected with his long simmering love of ’80s synth pop and Brazilian samba on a set of songs that addressed the end of his marriage. Pleasure finds Lerche similarly searching for danceable solutions, once again setting his irresistibly twisted lyric pretzels (“I’ve got so much love to give/So many graves to dig” or “I’m always watching/Call it voyeurism or masochism, a coward’s distance”) to drum machinery, Saturday-night fever sweats and twitchy ‘80s Frankie/Duran2/Soft Cell moves. The beauty of Pleasure’s vintage danceteria lies in its sharp 21st-century focus and Lerche’s consistently reliable songwriting skills, which have proven adaptable to every genre in which he’s dabbled.

—Brian Baker