'Patience': Sondre Lerche blends his classic indie-pop sound with 'ambient music and minimalism'
The singer is at his lyrical and musical best, with an album that blends his classic pop stylings with his new-found love for ambient instrumentals
Sondre Lerche's ninth studio album, 'Patience', is an ambient dream that blends the singer's classic indie-pop sound with his new-found love for "ambient music and minimalism." Recorded in Norway, where Lerche is from, 'Patience' is the first release from the artist after he left behind a decade of memories in New York City to relocate to the West Coast. As such, it slips further into a serene, ambient sound, building on the style Lerche has been experimenting with in his recent releases, 2017's 'Pleasure' and 2014's 'Please'.
In an interview with Broadway World, the singer shared, "The inspiration behind the theme and feeling of the album comes from the sense of space and time I associate with ambient music and minimalism. Ever since Pleasure came out in 2017, I've been running a lot, and I listen to mainly abstract music that helps me lose sense of time and structure when I run, what I refer to as 'patient music'. Performing the flamboyant and intense Pleasure show 140 times in one year got me into athleticism, and made me passionate about running. Before this, I never did anything remotely athletic in my life. After Pleasure I felt like slowing down everything in my life. I stopped touring for the first time since I was 18. I moved to LA, and I just focused on writing. I needed to make soothing music."
And make soothing music he did. 'There Is No Certain Thing', which sits as an interlude of sorts on the album', is a standout. The short track is the most minimal off the record, and as Lerche gently sings the lyrics, "Love is upon us / Two bodies fit / Our minds align but in the end we must admit / There is no certain thing except that we will die alone," you feel an equal sense of hope for limitless love and a sense of doom for our collective end. The track leads into 'Are We Alone Now', a slow, jazzy tune that marks Lerche's shift from his more produced pop songs to a far more atmospheric sound that reflects how far Lerche has come as an artist.
Where 'Please' and 'Pleasure' saw Lerche's songwriting, one of the few things he was criticized for in the past, evolve from his simpler approach to something with far greater depth than anyone had come to expect of the artiste, 'Patience' sees Lerche jump leaps and bounds, his skills as a storyteller having shifted into areas no one could have dreamed. By shedding structure and a regimented sense of time and space, it appears Lerche has opened himself up to a whole new side of his own musicality, and his 'patience' with his own artistry has truly paid off. And when contrasted with the quiet, atmospheric sound he has adopted on 'Patience', Lerche manages to convey an even wider range of emotion than he has before.
The first single off the album, 'You Are Not Who I Thought I Was', was released alongside a music video directed by Jon Danovic and sees Lerche draw a little inspiration from his more pop-dominant roots. In an interview with Exclaim, Lerche shared, "I had this idea that a good place to start would be to go into the woods with a shovel and shoot some stuff wearing that red coat. I kept thinking of the Tom Waits song that goes: "What's he building in there?" Like, what's he digging for up there? Ideas ballooned: what if there were more versions up there, spying on a perceived authentic self? What if they always find him, no matter where he goes? Basically an existential version of the 'Two Way Monologue' video, I realize now in retrospect." 'Two Way Monologue', which featured on Lerche's 2004 album of the same name, was a catchy pop song and saw Lerche combine his straightforward lyrical style off his debut 'Faces Down' with more experimental musical styles to create a song that maintained its upbeat sound throughout while elevating the artiste's sound to a new level.
While thematically, 'You Are Not Who I Thought I Was' is a companion of sorts to 'Two Way Monologue', musically, they demonstrate exactly how Lerche's music has grown over his career. Where his earlier sound was rooted in experimental pop with elements of indie rock, the layers of various styles that have seeped into his repertoire over time are abundantly evident in his latest release. To that end, 'Patience' sits at the crossroads between the Lerche of old versus the artiste he is becoming, serving as both the culmination of his work thus far as well as an indication of how his sound will continue to grow from here on out.