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Indians – Somewhere Else March 26, 2013

Posted by gwyoung in Album Reviews, Music.
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Indians - Somewhere ElseArtist: Indians

Album: Somewhere Else

Release: 4AD, 2013

Genre: Dream Pop

RIYD: The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Rogue Wave

From the label that brought you the eclectic weirdness of releases like Purity Ring’s Shrines, Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch, Grimes’ Visions, and Gang Gang Dance’s Eye Contact comes the debut release from newcomer Indians, the moniker of the Copenhagen-based solo artist Soren Lokke Juul. Given the genre-bending and experimentalism inherent in the work of his peers, one would expect (especially from the possible connotations of the name Indians) some kind of electro-psychedelic romp through the forest or jungle, so I guess one could say that Indians’ debut, Somewhere Else, defies expectations by proving to be surprisingly normal.

Juul works in the confines of spacey dream-pop, weaving the emotional heft of his ethereal falsetto into a fabric of purring synth tones and reverbed acoustics as has been done repeatedly by hundreds of other musicians since it was popularized in the 90’s by bands like Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips. As such, nothing on Somewhere Else really stands out on the first listen (though admittedly it does make for some good background music while working or taking a nap). But, as is often the case with gimmick-free singer/songwriter-type releases, the gravity of the songs emerge through repeated listens, and the relative sparseness of the atmospherics only serves to amplify the directness of Juul’s vocals. The simplest tracks prove to be the most effective: the gentle strumming and angelic melancholy of “I Am Haunted” or the steadily layered build-up to nothing at all of “Bird” strip back the sonic curtains to let the lyrics shine through, and the results are profound.

Indians do nothing original to tamper with the tried-and-true dream-pop formula, but through the careful mixing of his incredibly expressive songs Juul manages to create an album that stacks up against its peers. Somewhere Else is as direct, honest and unassuming as the Lips were with The Soft Bulletin or Mercury Rev were with Deserter’s Songs, and as such captures the essence of what made both of those albums into classics. Unlike the other acts currently signed to the 4AD label, Indians doesn’t have any tricks up his sleeves, just his heart.

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