Sondre Lerche's fourth album, Phantom Punch, is his self-proclaimed attempt at rock. While some may question how a guy who's been called the Burt Bacharach of this age can rock out, all they need to do is stand back and watch it done. This isn't your Nickelback, power-chord-infused kind of rock, but the well-crafted, thoughtful, and simply fun kind of rock that will remind people what a musician sounds like in an age of slick production and American Idol.
Phantom Punch is altogether pleasant and upbeat, and the tunes run the gamut from the Doors-reminiscent track "Well Well Well," to the self-described disco-waltz title-track, to the sweet "After All," that will evoke sentiments close to the squiggly, lovesick line-smiles of Peanuts characters. It's a good mix that showcases Lerche's vocal talents as well as his band's clean, raw instrumentals.
Lerche's last album, The Duper Sessions, was a successful jazz cross-over. Between that and Phantom Punch, Leroche proves that he's talented enough to pull off any style he fancies. Phantom Punch may be a departure from his previous melody and hook-driven pop albums, but his solid songwriting translates well. The sheer sincerity in his lyrics isn't lost in the frenetic drums and guitar, and shows that rock music doesn't have to be without a heart and a brain.