A new year’s resolution I’d like to keep for Sounds Good is to feature more EPs and albums this year. Sure, featuring singles is great, and means we’re able to throw tiny bursts of YAY into people’s ears, but there’s something about getting stuck into an album that’s real nice. The first album to make this happen is Empty Parks, the new album from Pia Fraus. The Estonian band have been responsible for dropping all manner of Dreamgaze noises for ages now, but appear to have stepped into a poppier state of mind for this new record.
From the singles we heard prior to the record’s release, Pia Fraus successfully blended the two genres together to create something that’s idyllic but filled with groove. Beneath the layers of reverb on “Sweet Sunday Snow” comes the crunch of the drums, bringing some accessibility to the tune. The biggest example of the band’s Pop embrace is on “Love Sports” which immediately brightens the room with a flurry of guitar hooks and harmonies that breeze through the airwaves. Its instrumental is thick with walls of reverb, but the guitars cut through it enough for the riffs to be heard distinctly. It’s got a power to it that really energises the record.
On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got songs that showcase exactly why Pia Fraus have remained as frontrunners of the Dreamgaze genre. The opening track “Hidden Parks” kicks off Empty Parks with a My Bloody Valentine-esque barrage of soaring guitars and sweeping synths, dissipating into the atmosphere to make way for the vocals to ease their way into the mix. The song is lush with melodies throughout, and paints a wintery landscape for the rest of the record to run into…or cannonball into the snow if you’re “Mr. Land Freezer”.
Empty Parks is a superb album from Pia Fraus. It’s an album that throws you into its world and does everything in its power to make sure you have a good time. Every song sounds massive and is given the time to grow and explore whatever direction it pleases, but ensures that there’s enough hooks and fascinating moments to keep things interesting. I personally picture this album’s world to be like Skyrim. Just full of life and nature and everything you could want from a cool RPG.