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Sondre Lerche and The Faces Down Quartet – Duper Sessions

I get the feeling I’m about to be terribly unfair to Sondre Lerche. More specifically, I’m going to be unfair to his album Duper Sessions. I’m going to be unfair because even though I think it is good, I am just having a hard time putting together things that will make a reader want to run out and buy it. Who am I kidding; no one is reading this.

The Norwegian born musician has always been a little apart from the music of the moment. His essence has always had the lyrical and vocal qualities of folk music, accompanied by a big band. With his third full-length release, he has gone even further from the mainstream and more into the world of pop jazz, with the addition of The Faces Down Quartet.

As I have previously said Duper Sessions is good, but it is hardly more than background music. It’s the kind of tunes people listen to in movies and commercials while drinking white wine and cooking dinner; playfully popping morsels into each other’s mouths. As this is the sort of evening I have planned tonight, it should work splendidly. God help me, but it’s the type of thing you would hear in Starbucks.

As you may have noticed, I’m not fired up about these Duper sessions. That said, Sondre uses his voice beautifully in a silky, Harry Connick Jr. type way, backed up nicely with musical arrangements of piano, upright bass, and pedal steel, which are both lovely and comforting. It is as good as any album I have heard from this genre, combining romance and whimsy in a way that will cause the sides of your mouth to curl up ever so slightly. Your grandparents would love it.

The problem in the end is that nothing new or interesting is brought to the table. Sure, it’s good, but so are many of the other albums of its ilk put out in the last 50 years. It is a mood-setting album, but my CD collection is already choked with albums capable of setting the same mood. Next time I’ve cooked a nice meal for some girl, and I am trying to impress her with how mature and sophisticated I am, I may reach for this album, but more likely I’m going with Louis Armstrong.


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