Phantom Punch

Studio Album by released in 2007

Phantom Punch review

Phantom Punch (With The Faces Down) is a third album featuring a new genre

Sondre Lerche likes to keep his admirers in astonishment. A couple of his very first light indie pop albums brought him success on both sides of atlantics and made him a real star in his home Norway. But, most probably, these results didn’t satisfy his artistic ambitions - Sondre Lerche unexpectedly changes his musical style in 2006 and records a jazz album Duper Sessions evoking a slight perplexity in his listeners. However the album has managed to outdo its predecessors and reach the fifth line in Billboard Official Top Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart. And now restless Sondre Lerche is striving to amaze public again, his new album Phantom Punch (With The Faces Down) presents another stylistic turnover. In one of his interviews to Billboard he mentioned that the new album will have a primitive sound, and he wasn’t trying to mislead, the album turned out to be a pretty coarse and impudent one indeed. This time around Sondre wants to play rock, simple and unpolished. Well, it is pleasant to see that he doesn’t rest on his laurels and keeps seeking his unique style. And though the echo of his early pop roots is still here the album’s principal line is based on the best traditions of contemporary indie rock music.

Sondre Lerche acquires recognizable features

Phantom Punch (With The Faces Down) is not an experiment and it’s not even a trial of strength in a new for Sondre Lerche direction. It is more likely a demonstration of a wide range of interests. Without further ado and other kinds of preludes he dives into rock arrangements and handles this situation pretty confidently. The first track Airport Taxi Reception is a nice, positive song: a lot f acoustic guitars, catchy chorus and sweet voice falling into falsetto form time to time. And though this is not a best example of Lerche’s stylistic changeability the song in the firs place sounds like real modern rock hit, the associations with pop music influences appear much later. However the basis mass of album’s material doesn’t evoke such associations. A second track Tape proves to be loud and edgy, in a way the song’s daredevil spirit is akin punk rock but at the expense of Sondre Lerche’s various tastes and his love to nonstandard chords it sounds much smarter than a majority of songs of aforementioned genre. The most successful songs here are Face The Blood and Phantom Punch, these are pretty intensive and rebellious compositions, they come in easily with some measure of excitement as they both have interesting structures. Generally speaking, unusual song structures are quite characteristic for Sondre Lerche, he is much more interested in depicting his ideas by means of tempo interchange or chord progressions rather then by separate riffs. As to the general sounding of the album it must be said that Lerche achieved results he wanted: the album features loud drums, crunchy guitars, deep bass and general garage atmosphere, in a word this is a solid modern rock oriented towards youth audience.

Sondre Lerche doesn’t want to refuse from his pop roots

Regardless all the pains he took to reach a new sounding Sondre Lerche just couldn’t help refusing from his pop roots. Yes, the album sounds loud, but at times it bends from the general line in the direction of soft and romantic melodies, like on She’s Fantastic which evidently points on the influences of bands like Beach Boys. However, one cannot refer it to album’s disadvantages, the main thing that Sondre Lerche achieved here is that every song features a peculiar approach to songwriting characteristic only to him. Take a look at Tragic Mirror for instance. This is a pop song in its very essence, but the way Lerche treats the harmonies makes a listener to apprehend it as an integral part of the album. His hand style is a simple for perception but nonstandard and divers song structure. At times it seems that he loses the songs’ spirit behind these thought out arrangements, living his listener only bare mathematical calculation. But this is only a deceptive semblance; with his every new album Sondre Lerche nears his aim and every song caries something of only his nature. It is hard to say that he completely succeeded in fulfilling himself on Phantom Punch (With The Faces Down), this album is rather an indicator of what’s to come, if he’ll set his choice on this genre of course. The album will be interesting for musicians for the first place; there are a lot of really worthy and unusual moments here, though it may be interesting to any casual rock music lover too.