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Pia Fraus

After Summer

(Clairecords; US: 13 May 2008; UK: Available as import; Japan release date: 7 May 2008)

This time around Pia Fraus move closer to the Stereolab end of their influences. But the shift away from other end (the love children of Astrud Gilberto and My Bloody Valentine) is only incremental. Their songs are hazy swathes of fuzzy melancholy wherein impressions can arise from the sound of words as much as from their actual meaning. Norman Blake steps in as producer but Pia Fraus’s blurry blueprint is unmistakably gorgeous. Hypnotism looms at the intersection of melody and (the merest hint of) distortion.


Some songs on After Summer such as “Doctor Optimism” and “Yenissy” might well become as beloved as forerunners like “400 & 57” and “Right Hand Traffic” from the band’s benchmark recording In Solarium. Obviously, though, there’s no chance of them matching their previous best song title “The End of Time and Space as We Used to Know It Is After You Have Finished Your Tea: Approximately 5:07 p.m.” Anyone know the Estonian word for “shoe”?

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