A more appropriate title for the debut album from Danish coo-badour Søren Løkke Juul might be Someone Else, as that’s who you’ll invariably be reminded of while listening to it. Juul’s first foray under the Indians alias plays out like a master’s thesis on the past 10 years of beardo indie, presenting his meticulous research into the burbling soundscapes of Animal Collective, the stately chamber pop of Grizzly Bear, the campfire-stoking sing-alongs of Fleet Foxes, and the dewy, soft-focus swoon of Bon Iver. But while his sense of craft and melody are undeniable, Somewhere Else nonetheless feels too orderly and academic, its ethereal, exceedingly precious ballads hinting at—but rarely mustering up the energy for—cathartic crescendos. While Juul plays all the instruments here, he seems deathly afraid of percussion (aside from the odd clap-track beat), and, over the course of an entire album, Somewhere Else’s weightlessness starts to feel oppressive. It follows, then, that the album’s standout moments occur when Juul goes off-the-cuff (as on the playful acoustic reverie “Cakelakers”), suggesting that a singular personality might yet emerge from Indians’ studious precision.
Playlist picks “Cakelakers,” “Melt”