1. 400 & 57
2. Right Hand Traffic
3. The End of Time and Space Like We Used To Know It Is After You Have Finished Your Tea Approximately At 5:07 pm
5. No Need For Sanity
7. Outskirts Of Me
8. How Fast Can You Love
9. On You
The great thing about Clairecords' roster of bands is that there's generally an excuse to include the terms "shoegazer" and "dreampop" into nearly every review of their artists. Pia Fraus, a young band from Estonia, fulfills my pathological need to inject those two words into a review.
Featuring a sound that is equal parts Slowdive and Lush, In Solarium, the band's second CD, is a warm, cozy experience that is, at least on the surface, a very pleasant listen. From the wash of feedback, hazy guitar swirls to the hovering sheen of dreamy vocals, Pia Fraus has the shoegazer/dreampop idiom down pat. Unlike Slowdive, Pia Fraus tends to rev things up quite a bit and keep things at a bouncy pace throughout the CD. The inclusion of male and female singing, as well as certain songwriting tendencies, also allows for the Lush comparison. While the band sounds contemplative, they never dwell in long, echoing, slow passages and stick to fairly kinetic arrangements. But the one problem of In Solarium is that the songs tend to filter together into a single, long song, not allowing for enough variety. Depending on a listener's mood and need for variety, this could either be a minor issue or a major annoyance. Since the delivery is earnest and the band quite accomplished at the style, In Solarium is often more enjoyable than not for me.
Despite the band's tendency to stick too closely to their songwriting formula, In Solarium might be a good current release for those who miss Lush or simply can't get enough shoepop/dreamgazer music. It's something I will probably avoid when in a mood for more challenging music, but when the mood for something light, dreamy and warm comes along, In Solarium will be a good choice.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 07/2002