Dream pop bands love to fill their stages with distortion pedals, stomp boxes and anything else that will make their guitars seem appropriately fuzzy and celestial. But all that hardware at their toes is for naught if they don’t have the voices they need to really swaddle up their listeners in puffy clouds of sound.
That’s not a problem for Pia Fraus, a five-piece from Tallinn, Estonia that carries on the best traditions of their shoegazer forebears, including one that’s long been under-acknowledged: the enmeshing of male and female voices. On “Autumn Winds” – a hazy highlight of Field Ceremony, the band’s first new album in nearly a decade – the breathy vocals of keyboardist Eve Komp and guitarist Rein Fuks seem to fuse into one curiously androgynous whole, much as those of Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields so often did in My Bloody Valentine, or Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead in Slowdive.
And yet beneath the song’s gauzy veneer, there’s a sense of urgency, too, as lurid squalls of guitar and the whirring of synths add turbulence to the spaces in between the singers’ blissed-out coos. As was the case for MBV at their best, the song is too stormy to qualify as passive. Instead, it conveys a feeling of willful, even active submission to the forces that bear down on this moment – or as Komp and Fuks sing, “let the wind blow onto me.” The effect is as intoxicating as any dream-pop devotee could hope.
There are no local tour dates for Pia Fraus at the moment, but you can follow them on Facebook here and watch their video for “Mountain Trip Guide” below.
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