Phantom Punch

Phantom Punch

5.0 3
by Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down
     
 

This Norwegian singer-songwriter has built a reputation as one of the more ethereal presences on the alt-pop scene, but -- fittingly, given the title of this, his fourth outing -- Phantom Punch balances that tenor with a bit more muscle. Lerche hasn't totally given up on sweetness and light, but on songs like "Face the Blood," he ramps up both the energy and…  See more details below

Overview

This Norwegian singer-songwriter has built a reputation as one of the more ethereal presences on the alt-pop scene, but -- fittingly, given the title of this, his fourth outing -- Phantom Punch balances that tenor with a bit more muscle. Lerche hasn't totally given up on sweetness and light, but on songs like "Face the Blood," he ramps up both the energy and the attitude, winding up with a careening concoction of jazz and punk not all that far removed from mid-period Fall. There's always been a sinister quality to Lerche's lyric stance -- a combination of fractured English and typically macabre Scandinavian humor -- but when cloaked in oddball effects, as on the angular post-punk paean "The Tape," the tension level is considerably higher. Lerche still knows how to deploy an impossible-to-shake pop hook, as evidenced by "Say It All" -- a tune that recalls, in spirit as much as in actual sonics, Arthur Lee's interpretation of Burt Bacharach's "My Little Red Book." Lerche is also still fond of the odd trip down Astrud Gilberto way, a direction he takes on the melancholy shuffle "Tragic Mirror." For the most part, however, he's traded sheen for scruff, a vibe that suits him well, and one that heightens the impact of Phantom Punch.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim Sendra
Sondre Lerche threw his fans for a loop with his last record, the jazzy, low-key Duper Sessions. While it was suitably classy and sophisticated, those who had come to love his snappy and intelligent pop songs were left in the lurch. Phantom Punch marks a return to form, but with some interesting alterations. The record's not as arranged as Two Way Monologue, with less instrumentation on hand and no traces of the soft rock (strings, lush vocal harmonies) that softened that album's edges to great effect. For the most part, it's also louder than previous efforts, with spiky guitars pushed to the fore and Lerche almost snarling out his lyrics at times. While this could have been a recipe for disaster, with the songs sounding forced or phony as Lerche strained to "rock out," instead Phantom Punch is a very successful blend of brains and brawn. Part of this is down to Lerche and his band, the Faces Down, knowing exactly what to play at all times; part of it is down to Lerche's songwriting and arranging skill. The album is laid beginning to end with tough, smart, and hooky songs that don't fade on repeated airings, instant classics like "John Let Me Go" and "Say It All" that are like a blueprint for how to construct a good pop song -- interesting chord changes, subtle shifts in dynamics, witty and wistful lyrics, a vocal that's both forceful and nimble, and a rock-solid chorus with a singalong hook. Just about every song on the album follows a rough approximation of this format, which means they are all gems. Only the sweet acoustic ballad "Tragic Mirror" and the album-ending "Happy Birthday Girl" deviate from the formula; the latter is an epic-length noise ballad that sounds out of place on the album but also packs a sonic and emotional punch. It also displays Lerche's range; much like his recent tour mate Elvis Costello, you get the feeling that he could do just about anything on his next release and make it work. As for Phantom Punch, it lays down incontrovertible proof that Sondre Lerche can make a convincing and exciting straight-ahead modern rock record.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/06/2007
Label:
Astralwerks
UPC:
0094638262022
catalogNumber:
82620

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down   Primary Artist
Sondre Lerche   Indexed Contributor,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Alex Locascio   Percussion
Inara George   Background Vocals
Tony Hoffer   Background Vocals
Morten Skage   Bass,Percussion,Group Member
Kato Ådland   Harmonica,Percussion,Piano,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Group Member
Ole Ludvig Krüger   Drums,Group Member

Technical Credits

Stephen Marcussen   Mastering
Todd Burke   Engineer
Tony Hoffer   Producer,Engineer
Sondre Lerche   Composer,Artwork,Direction
Jason Gossman   Engineer

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Phantom Punch 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sondre Lerche is the most amazing artist. He is such a good performer live as well. Everyone should give him a try and listen to all of his albums because they are all different. This album is a lot more upbeat and rockish compared to his duper sessions which came before this one but still very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago