As vague as its title may be, Somewhere Else is an aptly evocative moniker for this debut album from Copenhagen’s Indians, fronted by Søren Løkke Juul. Although the band has only been together for a year, it’s quickly caught international attention with spare, haunting music that resonates like otherwordly strains echoing through the cold expanses of Scandinavia.
“New” starts things off with synths whose lingering notes recall dreamy organs, accompanied by stately, reverberating percussion and Juul’s trembling tenor. Futuristic effects bubble up to the surface as the song builds layer upon layer of sound, rising to a triumphant crescendo before sinking back down again to its quiet, minimalist beginnings. From this first track, Indians establish themselves as connoisseurs of composition, masters of the build. None of the songs on Somewhere Else follow the hackneyed verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure of popular music, and it’s simply refreshing. For example, we follow the wandering, flitting lullaby melody of a piano on “Bird,” where the clacking of the keys remains audible in the song’s dreamy atmosphere, poignant and incredibly, inexplicably sad.
Continuing in this vein, the single “I Am Haunted” combines spacey effects, an acoustic guitar, and those wavering vocals wailing in a spectral, anguished love song that wouldn’t seem terribly out of place on a Bon Iver record. The album isn’t all doom and gloom, though: cascading synth melodies and a deep, rich piano back Juul on “Lips Lips Lips,” which tends, at points, toward the orchestral, and “Cakelakers” is a simple, pleasant acoustic tune.
Somewhere Else isn’t perfect—“Magic Kids” feels a little disjointed, and “Reality Sublime” tries too hard to evoke its supposed sublimity. But this is a striking debut for such a young band, and hopefully a promise of what’s to come.