Sondre Lerche takes a jazzy turn with the Faces Down Quartet on the album “Duper Sessions,” due tomorrow (March 21) via Astralwerks. The 23-year-old Lerche is backed here by pianist Erik Halvorsen, guitarist Kato Adland, bassist Morten Akage and drummer Ole Ludvig Kruger. The set was produced by long-time collaborator Jorgen Traeen.
“This is definitely a departure for me, but it’s not that different,” Lerche tells Billboard.com. “It’s more about doing one single thing, one certain style. All my records have used elements of jazz — this one just uses them on every song. I grew up appreciating pop music from the jazz age and this set of songs were really drawn from that.”
The 13-track “Duper Sessions” features a cover of the Cole Porter classic “Night and Day,” which was inspired in part by Lerche’s admiration of Chet Baker’s vocal recordings, and “Nightingales” by Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon. The Norwegian songwriter also put his own spin on “Human Hands” by Elvis Costello, with whom he toured with for a month last year.
Touring in support of the romance-laden record would be “fun,” but Lerche doubts the opportunity to hit the road with a full band would be feasible. He will be performing with a full band April 6 at the Bowery Ballroom in New York and April 8-9 at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
“Solo tours are exciting and efficient when all I have to worry about is me,” he says. “But this is a band record. It’s laid back, it has no pretension, but the work from Erik and the whole group is really what makes it work.”
Lerche is taking little time to linger on “Duper Sessions,” as he will re-enter the studio next week to begin recording a new “rock” record. The as-yet untitled effort will hopefully be released by the fall, he says, packed with songs he wrote within the last two years.
“With [‘Duper Sessions’], I wanted to make a contrast to what I’ve done before,” Lerche says of his two previous efforts, “Faces Down” and “Two Way Monologue.” “I didn’t want to confuse my listener — I wanted to do a record that’s direct and concise. Transparent. This new one will be a band record as well, but kind of a return. I want it to be punchy, rhythm, kind of primitive, like old XTC and Costello’s ‘This Year’s Model’ [or] ‘Blood & Chocolate.'”