Pia Fraus is an Estonian band and, if you are fan of dreampop, should be very familiar. The band began in 1998 and played their first gig in 1999. Their first album was released in 2001 as a self-release. In the summer of 2002, Clairecords released their second full-length, In Solarium. Since then, they have released a number of full-lengths (the last being in 2008), EP’s, and singles. In 2016, Pia Fraus released a new single entitled “Autumn Winds”, eight years after their After Summer full-length. “Cloudy Eyes” is another new dreampop laden track from a band that are masters at the genre. Rocketship is the brainchild of Dustin Reske who produces a brand of blissed out psychedelic electronica pop. Reske is currently joined by Ellen Osborne in this iteration of the band. Reske and Osborne hail from Portland, Oregon, a scene that seems to be bursting with innovative, artistic thinkers. Rocketship has been an active project in various formations and iterations for over twenty years and here, “Outer Otherness”, is Rocketship’s latest offering.
Pia Fraus’ “Cloudy Eyes” begins with fully realized blissed out walls of sound with mid-tempo percussion. The track reminds me of The Melody Unit mixed with blissy shoegaze elements. The male/female vocal stylings of Pia Fraus really do set them apart from many bands and the combination creates a deep, layered vocal that contributes to the dreampop feel. The guitars create ghost-like shades in the far distance as the bass really glues the melody together alongside what sounds like synths. Let’s hope that this brilliantly constructed piece is a precursor to a new full-length by Pia Fraus soon. This dreampop fan can certainly hope!
Rocketship’s “Outer Otherness” is a Stranger Things-esque composition in terms of the synth and tonal choices. Electronic, sci-fi synths sit within a vocally present pop melody. As the track moves forward, layers of synths producing melodies and counter melodies build and begin to create an almost electronic wall of sound. Osborne’s vocals feel almost post-punk with an otherness bordering on otherworldly given their context. One thing that Rocketship does here is something I personally admit to having a fascination with and that is songs that don’t fade out but, rather, just end. While “Outer Otherness” has a very brief fade, it’s momentary and hardly present. It lends a sort of finalization to the listener of the otherworldliness of the track. This track is also a pre-cursor to Rocketship’s new album coming out sometime this year.
This 7” is limited to 500 copies and should go quickly. A mixture of dreampop and synthwave pop, Pia Fraus and Rocketship offer up two tracks that should please fans of both bands. Pia Fraus prove once again that they can construct perfect dreampop gems while Rocketship demonstrates an ability to think outside the box and create an otherworldly synthscape with poppy overtones. As with all 7”s, this only whets the appetite and has the listener begging for more.
The Split 7″ will be out on March 17, 2017 from Seksound. Order below on their bandcamp.