Delicate, light and glacial, the music of Søren Løkke Juul, who goes by the name Indians, evokes a wintry isolation that brings together the intimacy of Bon Iver and the smoothness of Sigur Ros on his debut album, Somewhere Else. A fine testament would be the folk imbued “I Am Haunted” with Justin Vernon’s woodsy twang on accompanied by a very Jonsi-esque delivery. Hailing from Denmark, it’s not surprising that Somewhere Else basks in a Northern glow that is both expansive and unimposing.
The album sails calm waters musically, glistening waves of soothing and uncluttered rhythms lull with a faint yet inviting glow. The instrumentation is light but effective: punchy and synthetic kicks on “La Femme”, electronic synths more akin to chiming bells than club shakers, rippling keys and faint echoes adding to the moody atmospherics on Somewhere Else. The album’s tone teeters between sounding jaunty, like “Cakelakers,” to weary heartbreak. The album’s minimalist palette is also charmingly subtle. Take for instance the mellow “Bird” with its sweet yet forlorn piano line.
The way Somewhere Else unfolds imperceptibly graceful; it’s a “grower”. Instead it’s the idiomatic ‘big thing in a small package,’ like watching your first legitimate snowfall from the comfort of your kitchen window and having the small non-event graciously reveal itself. You’ve always pictured the beauty of it and you know it’s magical. Though the snowfall hasn’t quite reached the picturesque idea you had in mind you know it’ll get there and only if you immerse yourself in it do you appreciate its wonder. The white of snow may not be the most vibrant of colours and shades but in its simplicity, there is a captivating fascination that draws and rewards. The same applies to Indians.
But, in its subdued nature, it entertains the very real possibility that Indians’ music may end up going nowhere like the barren waste the tundra can be. However, Somewhere Else avoids the potholes on mountain roads with shimmering numbers such as album stand-out “Reality Sublime” with its iridescent melody and percussive accents, or the lush and excellently paced closer and title track, “Somewhere Else”.
Indians have crafted a record that sinks in nicely and is uncomplicated. Somewhere Else slips to and from a variety of emotive forces and stylistic influences. Toned-down and unassuming, though restfully gratifying, Somewhere Else proves to be a strong introduction to Indians.