Søren Juul – formerly known as Indians – explores the highs and lows, the spectrums and arenas and the significance of lush, keyboard-based dream pop on ‘This Moment’. Having already put pen to paper on a few previous EPs; the Danish singer-songwriter has now compiled a fresh batch of soulful ballads.
Ambience-driven pop music is often accused of sounding a bit too samey. Unfortunately, Søren does very little here to really manoeuvre himself away from these accusations. Synth pop and its pretentious, art school-attending son-in-law dream pop often share this criticism; often enough they’re seen as being too dry and drab (when lacking the creativity that can make the genres great). It often looks like the job is done simply with “hey, we made a song…that’s all”, and Søren runs with that aspect of pop balladry fuelled by keyboards and attempted atmosphere quite frequently on ‘This Moment’ – it seems as though he’s set the foundations and a few of the layers of his songs and then not cared enough to put any more points of interest in. Not to say his songs don’t have meaning, and not to say no effort has gone in at all – it just seems like Søren has taken some of the worst aspects of the styles he’s gone for and highlighted them.
The self-titled closing track pretty much sums up the superficial, pseudo-glamour presented throughout, and it’s really difficult because it’s not like it’s even a bad song, it’s just lifeless, and while a slow, slightly vacant feeling seems to be the intention, it just doesn’t add to a worthwhile listen at all.
The closest Søren gets to a truly comfortable song is ‘Manly Beach’. The chorus actually has a ton of emotion, and while the production stays in that run-of-the-mill, “lush, lush and little bit more lush” format, the instrumentation at least fits together a bit more nicely, that and the piano chords are lovely.
In a strange way, it seems as though Søren Juul actually did everything he wanted to do on ‘This Moment’, he achieved everything he set out to achieve. We get flashes of intelligence on the aforementioned ‘Manly Beach’ and even on a few of the earlier tracks like ‘Dear Child’ and ‘Greenpoint’. Said intelligence isn’t momentous, it isn’t obvious and it isn’t genius, but it also isn’t disengaging like the majority of this album is.
‘This Moment’ sounds like the work of a passionate, unique human being, but a passionate, unique human being that is trying too hard to be normal.
‘This Moment’ is out now via 4AD
This Søren Juul article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor