Hailing from Tallinn, Estonia, Pia Fraus have proven to be one of the most fascinating and enduring shoegaze bands of the past twenty years, made all the more unusual by the fact that they emerged from Eastern Europe, an area not known for this genre.
Their debut album, ‘Wonder What it’s Like’, was released in 2001 and contained songs written between 1998 – 2000. To celebrate the twenty years since this debut, Pia Fraus have re-recorded the songs written up to 2001 and compiled them in a new album, ‘Know You Know, It Still Feels The Same’. There are four previously unreleased songs from this era included as well (‘Prig’, ‘Wonderful Nothing’, Blå (Morning Hue) and ‘Plastic World’). The band says:
These songs were written in the early period when we all were youngsters at the age of sixteen. It all started from nothing, without any clue what to do or how to play our instruments. It started when most things happened by accident. Now, more than twenty years later, you can still hear and feel this confused, sweaty but dreamy teenage vibe. It’s great to say that it still feels the same! We’re incredibly thankful for all of you who believed in us!
The fresh approach is a masterstroke: songs that were incandescent to begin with have been refurbished and refreshed to create a classic collection of sparkling shoegaze that shimmers and glows with vitality and a dreamy sonic architecture.
For example, opening track ‘How Fast Can You Love’ is transformed from a rough-hewn diamond – fuzzy guitars and a raw unburnished sound – into something that is more subtle – the vocal layers are more harmonious with a more refined production, creating something altogether more velvet and lush. In this new sparkling version, Pia Fraus display their songwriting craft and sees the band blend a My Bloody Valentine density with the pop sensibilities of Ride: a glorious welding of style and sound.
‘Obnoxious’ has a discordant edge that recollects MBV while the vocals are floating and distant with a cynical lyrical tone. ‘Moon Like A Pearl’ has a pop vibrancy with ethereal layered vocals and a snappy pace: dreamy, billowing sounds that scorch in the distance.
Synth riffs distinguish this band: guitars vie with the orchestral thrum and drone of electronica.
The band’s anthemic pop sensibilities are ascendant in ‘Wonderful Nothing’ and ‘Summer Before Spring’: buoyant, vital riff-ridden dream pop that is immersive and joyous.
‘Beautiful Next Time’ is underpinned by scorching feedback and a melancholy vocal stream that skims across the blistering surface. Again, synth riffs form a backbone to the drone and discordant twists. ‘Deep Purple Girl’ has jangling guitars and a deep pop sensibility: yearning and atmospheric.
The album ends with ‘Plastic World’, one of the previously unreleased tracks is a sparser high velocity track with an indelible melody and spark.
‘Now You Know, It Still Feels The Same’ puts on display the incredible songwriting craft that existed in this band when they were youths of only sixteen years, and adds the luster of experience and technological advancements in the studio to create something that is brilliant and spectacular.
Pia Fraus perfect the dual male/female vocals and heavenly harmonies with a thundering, dense and fizzing sound that is cinematic and bold. The 2021 approach highlights the textural complexities and multi-layered sounds of a band that deserves greater recognition.
You can have a sneak listen to this brilliant album here:
‘Now You Know, It Still Feels The Same’ is out on 1 September 2021 via Seksound (worldwide), distributed by Darla Records in the USA, Playground Music in Scandinavia, and Shellshock Distribution in the UK. It will be available digitally and on limited yellow vinyl, green vinyl, black vinyl, and Compact Disc.
You can preorder through the link below or download/stream through all the usual sites from 1 September 2021.
Pia Fraus are:
Kristel Eplik – vocals
Eve Komp – synth, back vocals
Kärt Ojavee – synth
Rein Fuks – guitar, vocals, synth, tambourine, shaker
Reijo Tagapere – bass
Joosep Volk – drums