Norwegian pop musician Sondre Lerche released his eighth studio album, Pleasure, last week. The album is not drastically different from his previous work, but Pleasure’s mildly distinctive keyboard and techno sounds differentiate the album enough to be new and exciting.
Many of the 10 songs on the album have a dance vibe. The album opens with a driving beat in “Soft Feelings,” which later includes a cool vocal-syncopated rhythm. Lerche definitely knows how to utilize rests to create a complete musical experience.
A strong beat particularly carries “Serenading the Trenches” and “Hello Stranger,” through the use of drums, keyboard and synthesized tones. The bright keyboard tones in “Baby Come to Me,” also characterized as chimes, are an interesting touch.
Pleasure is full of fun, vocally led melodies. Specifically, “Always Watching You” and “I Know Something That’s Gonna Break Your Heart” have distinct ‘80s vibes that are reminiscent of the times of big synthesized sounds and the likes of Whitney Houston and Rick Astley (at least in the opening sequences).
Further, some of these melodies have lyrics that at times acquiesce to pop norms, but some also make obscure political statements. “I’ve got so much love to give” is repeated in “Soft Feelings,” but “Reminisce” includes the line “I want to turn male privilege on its head / Even though without it I’d probably be dead.” Multiple songs are closed with the use of overlapping melodies, including “Serenading in the Trenches,” which also serve as a unique stylistic element of Lerche’s music that he uses to formulate cohesive songs.
Overall, the album itself is cohesive and a solid alternative to the mainstream that American pop listeners should enjoy. Lerche has shown an artist can find his or her defining sound, but still be innovative enough to produce eight albums and keep the music fresh.