One minute Sondre Lerche is orchestrating brilliant songs that bubble with life; the next he’s writing simplified bullshit that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Jason Mraz album. Lucky for us, both ends of the spectrum exist on Lerche’s new CD, Heartbeat Radio. Over the course of 45 minutes, the 27-year-old Norwegian puts some of his very best material next to some very average pop songs. The title track — a collaboration with the High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan — displays a fearless, explosive mastery of strings. Lerche’s vocals are crisp perfection, a flawless mixture of rasp and crystal clarity. “Easy to Persuade” includes some slick production that recalls the Cure, with distant electric-guitar riffs edgily breaking into pretty acoustics and gurgling synthesizer. Lerche’s influences are diverse — from ’80s synth-pop to ’70s Brazilian folk. It’s all fine and dandy until it goes overboard, like the backing vocals on “If Only,” which transform Lerche into a total cheeseball. But Heartbeat Radio is like that: a game of “she loves me, she loves me not” — except you’re peeling off songs, not flower petals. JBM opens at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $13 advance, $15 day of show. — Danielle Sills
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