Album #122: Pia Fraus – Empty Parks

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Tallinn, Estonia
  • Label: Seksound
  • Best Track: You’re Not in Love

Another album released back in January that I’m only discovering now, from the musical hotbed that is Estonia. I’m always keen to listen to artists from the lesser-covered parts of the world, even if it is pretty safe shoegaze/dream-pop.

Pia Fraus are no Johnny-come-latelies to the game, with Empty Parks being their sixth album in a catalogue dating back to 2001. From the first few notes of the opening title track, I instantly thought I would like this album. It has that atmosphere that’s dreamy, but at the same time deep, raw and resonant.

I’ve found though that, even after several listens, I keep switching off in the middle of this record. It’s fine, like. It’s just a bit samey, and the mid-album songs all blur in to one. Plus they have a habit of dropping from major to minor key a lot that does nothing for me. I think that’s what they’re doing anyway, although I’m probably showing my musical ignorance. “Love Sports’ is the track where they do it most.

In fairness to the band, it picks up near the end. ‘You’re Not In Love’ is a lovely track, with its hushed, summery sound, and they follow it up with another cracker in ‘Nice and Clever’.

Overall, it’s pretty good if you like this genre, and I do. Not exactly a new twist on a winning formula, but a solid record.

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