Demos for Somewhere Else were recorded in a spare room in Copenhagen, where Søren Løkke Juul, the one and only person behind Indians, had nothing but downtime. The echoey, introspective folkish music he made sitting at his keyboard fits with the bedroom-pop backstory. But what sets Juul apart from the sea of homemade records created in similar circumstances is that this tense debut feels as much about him finding an exit as it is does about him holing up.
Indians was quickly signed by 4AD after Juul self-released the single “Magic Kids” last year, and Somewhere Else fits right in sonically with other artists on the label. There’s the life-and-death urgency of Bon Iver’s Blood Bank in the track “Cakelakers,” in which the melody’s “Joy-to-the-World” lilt is met with the sound of Juul’s knuckles scraping against the guitar strings. Other songs could easily be the dramatic finale of a Deerhunter album — especially “La Femme,” in which the drum machine kicks in and Juul’s voice sounds vacant.
The entire album contains an air of loss, like it’s playing while a room is clearing. The space can sometimes feel anonymous, like on the title track, which was written after Juul saw New York City for the first time. Having patience pays off: When Somewhere Else finally lets you in, you’re left gasping for breath. (4AD)