At least ‘Afraid Of Stairs’ initially sounds like a pretty chilly affair. Solitary bass notes ring out, sparingly applied synths seep into the soundscape like gas under a door, and a funereal snare drum marches slowly across the mix. It’s thrillingly eerie, like New Order circa ‘Movement’ or ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’, perhaps with a sprinkle of the Cocteau Twins psychedelic sparkle.
It’s impeccably produced, ruthlessly stripped down but every remaining component looming large as though viewed under a magnifying glass. All of which would be impressive enough, but what really makes this track one of 2013’s most accomplished and original debuts is Jeppe’s unique vocal performance. Echoing the falsetto choirboy purity of Vampire Weekend or MGMT at their best, he repeatedly warns “it gets cold from now…” but paradoxically adds just the element of warmth and personal intimacy to offset the sub-zero instrumentation perfectly.
Intriguing, brave and confident, this is a proper statement of intent from someone you’ll surely be hearing more from in 2014. In the meantime, in an age where the current scene darlings seem to lose their flavour quicker than bubblegum left overnight on a bedpost, this track gets better and better with every listen. Dive in – just make sure you wrap up warm first.