Copenhagen’s SÃ¸ren LÃ¸kke Juul performed his first show under the moniker Indians in February of 2012, and subsequently signed with the legendary label 4AD. He followed that quick feat by touring in support of the likes of Beirut, Perfume Genius, and Lower Dens. Impressive credentials? Absolutely. But less than a year later, Indians’ debut, Somewhere Else, both frustrates and endears.
On Somewhere Else, Juul combines his fragile falsetto with ambient, hazed-out synths to create impressionistic glaciers that counter-intuitively radiate warmth. The album is a sedate affair peppered with exquisite moments, such as the nervous harmonies on “Bird”, the Beach House-channeling opener “New”, and the comely gossamer of “Melt”. Percussion is a scarcity on the disc, as if Juul were afraid it would tear down his fragile workings. Occasional flourishes, such as the hand-clapping “La Femme”, do pierce the veil. If all this sounds familiar, that’s because it is.
What separates Indians from his many contemporaries are the moments in which Juul goes off the bedroom pop grid, moments when Somewhere Else swaps ease for haphazard wandering. On the sprightly “Cakelakers”, Juul jumps between lo-fi, folk-tinged pop and lush, orchestral backing, his hazy malleability imbuing an unpredictable wonder. The entirety of Somewhere Else feels like a build to its closing title track. Following a pastoral interlude, “Somewhere Else” soars as Juul coos along to a warbling theremin. The use-in-the-event-of-an-emergency drums then propel the song towards an out-of-this-world finale, another startling moment in a sea of fleeting beauty.
Essential Tracks: “Somewhere Else”, “Cakelakers”