You’re a sexy little bitch, I’ve gotta say, Thorben Jensen coos in a Justin Vernon-ian falsetto in the song We Need Fear. It sounds as absurd on record as it does on paper (or screen), and it’s hard to tell if the Alcoholic Faith Mission vocalist is playing it for yucks or not. There are few rock singerswell, maybe just Princewho could get away with such lyrics, but Jensen tries his hardest.
That line shouldn’t be taken as indicative of the album’s lyrical content, but of the Danish six-piece’s willingness to try nearly anything. Their fourth LP is wonderfully scattershot, playing out like a late-2000s indie rock playlist switched to shuffle. It opens with 90 seconds of church choir motet (Down From Here), tosses out loud, crunchy, riff ‘n’ roll guitars and shoegaze-y, phased vocals (Alaska), and experiments with frenzied vocal looping (Into Pieces). On the tile track, Kristine Permild sings lead, which makes for a delightfully strange and pretty piece of psych-folk, and the remainder of the album toggles with ambient soundwashes, breezy synthpop, and a smattering of woodsy harmonies.
Ask Me This is an album with a lot of highlights, but without any clear, central vision. The penultimate track, We Need Fear, with its awkward lyrical come-ons, is the only song that attempts to blend all of these various influences into a single, cohesive sound. As a result, it’s all over the place, but it’s so much more exciting because you can’t trace the sound directly to anything you’ve heard elsewhere. It would be hard for any regular follower of contemporary indie rock to not find something that will scratch some itch or another on Ask Me This, but good luck trying to piece together what exactly you’ve heard once it’s over.
Essential Songs: Ask Me This” and We Need Fear