Phantom Punch

<i>Astralwerks</i>. Slashing electric guitar and clattering drums intensify Lerche’s melancholy romanticism.

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Charming Norwegian Lerche embodies tasteful multinationalism, boasting lush melodies that echo Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach and easy crooning inspired by Brazil’s Caetano Veloso. But lately, excessive polish has left Lerche in danger of sounding like Bing Crosby for the younger set. The exciting Phantom Punch rectifies that problem by upping the noise; slashing electric guitar and clattering drums intensify Lerche’s melancholy romanticism. The breathtaking “Say It All” sets heartbreak to a jumpy beat, while the angry chords of “Happy Birthday Girl” portray longing in cataclysmic terms. He’s the perfect role model for quiet guys who urge to erupt.

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We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

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