Søren Løkke Juul is a fortunate fellow indeed. The Danish musician’s new act, Indians, debuts on the 4AD record label, current home to Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Deerhunter, Grimes, and the National (among many others). Arising alongside such maddeningly good company, Indians, as a one man project, seems born for greatness. And Somewhere Else, as an introductory record, is more than a stellar start.
On Somewhere Else, the warbling richness of Juul’s falsetto tramples over lush musical foliage, shimmering layers of keyboards and guitars. Use of synthesizers is plentiful yet never makes the album feel overly electronic or coldly artificial. An organic ache to the record, competing with its celestial scope, humanly involves the listener while lifting the soul into space on a rocket ship full of sci-fi sounds.
A serenade in a planetarium of a record, Somewhere Else lies beneath familiar indie constellations yet somehow gives them new perspective, quietly accepting its place among the stars. From the shrill Devendra Banhart folk weirdness of “I Am Haunted” to the alien murmurs of “Melt,” Indians combine mad scientist experimentation with a hymn-like spirit, placing a ghost in its silvery machine and letting the phantom voice speak. The closing track, source of the album’s title, begins with an empty hallway longing that two minutes in builds into a Band of Horses meets Wolf Parade meets MGMT anthem, a stirring and cinematic climax that neither needs nor offers a denouement.
Although Somewhere Else owes stylistic fragments to bands like Grizzly Bear and the Antlers, the singular and personal tone of the album belongs to Juul alone. This disarmingly lovely record, soaked in reverb and sadness, requires patience but rewards with its expressive depth. Juul more than earns his place at 4AD, presenting superb low-key indie-pop that sends waves of emotion through the night skies of the wireless age.