If Norway has been a right bitch to Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes, then America has surely been Sondre Lerche's femme fatale. Blessed with a poetic command of the English language that could make Cole Porter sweat, the 24-year-old Norwegian songwriter has yet to crack America's VIP list, despite releasing three albums of sparkling, romantic pop to much hullabaloo in his homeland. Phantom Punch could be the jab that puts this Lerche in classier company. Mixing the street smarts of a fresh-faced Elvis Costello with the manic energy of recent Strokes efforts, Punch is Lerche's most overdriven and allegro effort to date. Intact are Lerche's offbeat chord choices, brainy turns of phrase and colorfast arrangements—charms that portend a lengthy affair in the arms of Nordics and Yankees alike.
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