November 26, 2003

Pia Fraus "Plastilina"

I loved early-90's British dreampop bands, and part of that love was based upon the fact that so many of those kinds of bands released three-or-four track extended-play singles. The EP format ruled, for a number of reasons. First, you couldn't throw a tossed-off B-side on there; secondly, the format does have informal time-limits, which means that you really had to focus on the material. Mainly, though, was the fact that so many of those groups really took the format seriously; they would mix the songs together with the same kind of seriousness normally reserved for full-lengths. Plus, it was a fitting format for another reason: this particular style of music has a tendency to get old rather quicky over the length of an album.

Plastilina, Pia Fraus' latest offering, follows in the EP tradition, and like their inspirations, they do it quite well. Blending swirling, blissful guitars and dreamy boy/girl vocals all sung in a heavenly Nordic accent, Pia Fraus are clear descendents of the shoegazer family tree, yet they never really wear their lineage on their shoes, so don't fret about the comparison. Instead of the drugged-out guitar heroics of yesteryear, Pia Fraus have a soft pop underbelly, and songs like "Obnoxious" and "Summer Before Spring" could rival Stereolab or Pale Saints in terms of catchy tuneage. "Moon Like a Pear" and "Deep Purple Girl" are also blissfully nice, too. (I'm also fond of that hidden remix of "Summer Before Spring," too.)

This is a fun and utterly dreamy EP from one of today's underrated shoegazer bands. It's quick, to the point, and there's not one dull moment to be had on Plastilina. I look forward to hearing more!!

--Joseph Kyle

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