This compilation, being handled by Shelflife here in the US and Seksound pretty much everywhere else, is actually pretty handy…at least for myself. Despite listening to a great amount of shoegaze/dream-pop over the years, Pia Fraus is a band that I’ve never spent much time with. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard an album…maybe a bit more…but for whatever reason it didn’t stick with me at the time. This comp that spans the years of 1998 through 2008, titled Silmi Island, has unquestionably corrected that. Maybe the only band that I’ve heard of their nature to hail from Estonia, Pia Fraus play a very pillowy style of dream-pop. Its gentleness and breezy qualities nearly earn it yacht rock like credentials. It’s shockingly similar when thinking about it, except there is an abundance of reverb. Not remembering what these folks sounded like, I was sort of expecting the usual blend of heavily distorted warped melodies and fuzz, but Pia Fraus really eschew most of that aside from occasional touches of fuzziness. This is surprisingly much more dream-pop based and Silmi Island puts on display a band that knows a thing or two about it, despite maybe residing in a bit of obscurity over the years.
For fifteen tracks (on the CD at least), Pia Fraus manage to navigate through with a delightful and soothing blend of nuanced distortion, electronics, and boy/girl harmonies. There are at least a couple tracks that I heard that incorporate the use of horns, which actually works quite well for them and only adds to their “at sea” vibe. Unlike a lot of bands of similar style, Pia Fraus seem to be heavily focused on layers of textures. It’s obvious that a lot of these tracks have been given much attention, right down to the finest detail of programmed sound. I wasn’t exactly buying the stuff in the press release stating that they have some type of large influence on “modern” dream-pop, and I’m not sure if I do now, BUT…it probably wouldn’t hurt for more bands looking to dive into the genre to take a long hard listen to these folks to set their shit straight some. Good stuff and will undoubtedly set me on a search to hear their discography in its entirety.
Pia Fraus – Japanese Heart Software (stream)
Anyone interested in grabbing a copy of Silmi Island, it’s available through Shelflife Records here in the states and Seksound on 03/01/13 for those overseas. The LP comes with a CD version that features a couple more tracks, including an MBV cover. Limited to 250, from each label.