Sondre Lerche, Dan Wilson

Sondre Lerche. Club Dada: To call it a coup would be like calling the Trinity toll road a country lane. After all, the Norwegian wunderkind began his career with raves rarely doled upon a high-schooler. "He's such a prodigy!" the critics said. "Such a grasp of songwriting at 18!" they said. "Wow, he's cute!" they said.

Well, the kid's 25 now—might as well be 85 in rock 'n' roll years, but he's still wowing us just the same. If his first couple of albums were surprisingly lithe bits of poppy folk rock, his next—a big band/swing-ish excursion entitled Duper Sessions—proved a prodigious versatility. Far from being the mark of a dilettante, Lerche's ability to master genres seems more the work of a youthful openness, as evidenced by his two most recent works, Phantom Punch (2007), a more gritty disc than his earlier stuff, and the Dan in Real Life soundtrack, to which he contributed most of the original songs, plus covers and some production work. Such an impish man-child, such powerful work.

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