erasing clouds

Pia Fraus, After Summer and Ten Remixes of Yenissey

review by dave heaton

I enjoy the Estonian dream-pop band Pia Fraus – their music is lush, mysterious and lovingly textured – though while listening to them I get the feeling it’s as if they’ve lifted a few of the most iconic, enigmatic sounds off My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and are running with them in fresh ways. That’s not a complaint. It’s like they’re taking those classic sounds and exploring how they work within different songs and settings.

One of those approaches is to get downright poppy, letting wispy voices carry hummable, even dynamite, melodies. Their guitars carry great tunes too, even while they build a big sound, part of a frenetic, colorful tapestry that glides along.

Co-produced by the band and Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake, Pia Fraus’ fifth album After Summer shows them to be especially adept with that big, kaleidoscopic sound, whether they’re translating it into daydream pop singles or into a more fanciful style of jamming with their melodies. They prove once again how versatile those classic shoegaze sounds can be.

Versatility is pushed even further with the CD Ten Remixes of Yenissey, which is as the title states. 10 artists, including Pia Fraus themselves, present a new take on one of After Summer’s most comforting, comfortable tracks, “Yenissey.” It takes on new, generally sleeker lives: Eastern-tinged crawl (Future Pilot Aka) through to experimental sound bursts framing what seems like the original version heard over transistor radio (His Name Is Alive). In between, the song lives as a sparkling folk ballad, sung by a man now, that’s somehow rustic and futuristic (Interntational Airport); as a ghostly hybrid of CCR-style rock and mystical dark synthesizers (Mirabilia); as a stormier sequel (Pia Fraus); as a warped radio-drama interlude (Teenage Fanclub); and as a whistler’s casual stroll, accompanied by piano (Bill Wells). There is one word in the song that lingers, and it sounds like “forever”. If it is, it’s appropriate.


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