Wondering what Beck's gonna sound like with Oklahoma psych-pop nuts the Flaming Lips as his backing band? This 20-year-old Norwegian kid's already figured it out: On Faces Down, his very nifty debut album, Sondre Lerche juices the serpentine space-folk of Mutations and Sea Change with the candy-colored instrumental flourishes the Lips have gotten so good at on their last several records. Sounds easy, especially considering the string-sampling possibilities available to any mildly computer-literate young person (ever heard anything by Her Space Holiday?), but Lerche transcends simple pastiche by writing real songs and then making their arrangements sound inevitable--he sings the gently fatalistic lead single "You Know So Well" like Eleanor Rigby after a long, hard look at all the lonely people, so the buoyant string section supplies a dramatic counterpoint not present in stuff by impeccably retro-minded popsters like the High Llamas (whose Sean O'Hagan actually wrote the charts). Lerche's wobbly English makes his lyrics scan as more sophisticated than they are, too: "And my transparent mind won't cover see-through hearts," he admits with a timorous sigh. Mellow Scandinavian gold, Faces Down is a soft-rock bulletin custom-made for autumn listening.
Recommended For YouPowered by SailThru
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!