With the band’s murky yet glossy sound, it’s clear Fraea loves playing with opposites. In name alone, the new Minneapolis duo has a lot of diametric ideas to choose from.
Named after the Norse goddess Freyja, the new act from Jessie Daley and Drew Preiner took inspiration from the celestial lady of love, sex, beauty, but also war, death, and the underworld when crafting their brooding, electronic sound they call “shadow pop.”
Fraea’s debut EP, Bend Your Bones, is due out April 29. And ahead of a sold-out show opening for Poliça next week at the Turf Club, the duo just dropped their first single, “Criminal," which premiered Wednesday via national music site Consequence of Sound. It’s a slow-burn for a lead single, but Daley’s glassy voice breathes echo-y air into the tune’s bubbly synths.
The textures on “Criminal” are light and ascending, like the iridescent plume rising on the single’s artwork. At the risk of sounding like an out-of-depth music writer, it’s hard to tell if Fraea’s sound is smoky or watery.
While the duo plays within the structural confines of 21st century indie electro pop, the sonic swirls Preiner (ex-Roster McCabe) and Daley (ex-Roma di Luna) mix together create a deceptively simple soundscope. “Criminal” serves as an aural equivalent of René Magritte’s Empire of Lights series, where Magritte presents landscapes in which it’s impossible to tell if it’s day or night.
That "what-am-I-looking-at" vibe carries over on the artwork for Bend Your Bones, on which pink matter flutters and manages to look like glass, slime, asbestos, seaweed, and an explosion all at the same time. Even from the band’s small amount of material, it’s clear that Fraea spend time carefully crafting intrigue that ramps slowly without ever sounding sluggish.
Fraea will release Bend Your Bones with an April 30 show at Icehouse, along with ambient turntable spins from Andrew Broder (Fog, Cloak Ox).
Here's the track list for Bend Your Bones: