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Pia Fraus | In Solarium (Clair)
Deeply indebted to numerous late-80's indie outfits, Pia Fraus are an unashamedly sepia-tinged delight. Hailing from Estonia and all under the age of twenty, this six-piece specialise in three-minute rapid blasts of alternative-pop filled with a genuine innocence that is tough to find outside of untapped musical territories such as these. Rattling, jangling guitars, fading vocals, incessantly dreamy melodies and lovelorn lyrics seemingly written without specific motive, Pia Fraus are resolutely retro but completely charming too. Strongly reminiscent of 'Bizarro'-era Wedding Present, the band also take large slices of inspiration from Slowdive, Lush and Superchunk as well as displaying a clear influence from Stereolab on the LP's finer euro-pop moments like the nagging female "la la la" murmurs of The End Of Time. As with the vastly underrated Weddoes, it would be almost too easy to dismiss these songs as 'all sounding the same' but when they are this bittersweet and heartfelt, it's impossible not to be genuinely affected. A band designed to put a spring in the stride and remind you of dust-covered albums you once adored, Pia Fraus are a glimmering discovery in the here and now.

Ian Fletcher
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002