Be prepared to enter a dream world. Indians, the musical project of Copenhagen’s Søren Løkke Juul, blurs the border between reality and the imaginary with its debut album, “Somewhere Else.”
Indians’ songs adopt a ghoulish nature thanks in large part to Juul’s undying affinity for sustain-and-delay effects. His echoing vocals roll throughout the cuts, at first disjointed but eventually melting back into each other. The result is a perpetual wave of undulating sound breaking softly against the listener’s ears.
Juul’s masterful incorporation of both synthetic and traditional instruments adds to this sense of fluidity. Tumbling synthesizer arpeggios, calming piano lines and soothing acoustic guitar strums provide a borderline therapeutic quality to the album.
There is one song that deviates from this established orchestration. “Cakelakers” takes on a more folk-leaning sound with its upper fret guitar strums, strings and lack of psychedelic instruments. Juul continues to modify his vocals with echoing effects. The result is something along the lines of acts like Dusted and former touring partners Lower Dens.
The album’s title track is also unquestionably one of its best. Juul’s vocals and storytelling are placed front and center as he sings over a lone organ for the first two minutes. The track gains momentum when he emits a falsetto howl and the instruments kick in. The cut continues to crescendo as his howls interweave with the synthesizers, making it sound like a choir of ghosts rather than one man.
Juul falls just short of providing his fans a soundtrack for complete transcendence. Instead, he keeps them in a beautiful state of limbo. Listeners may not be hearing Indians on the Top-40 airwaves anytime soon, but albums like “Somewhere Else” are a good reminder of what’s out there when a little digging is involved.
3 ½ stars