Thursday, October 30, 2014

Introducing :: FrontRegen

Whilst their name might leave a lot to be desired, frontRegen's sound does nothing of the sort. Forming six years ago in Vienna, the quartet has released a trio of EPs since their 2008 inception, culminating last month with 'Coming Home'. Whilst their sound hasn't changed too much in that space of time, it's clear that the band have become tighter, more refined and even somewhat more avant-garde.

Whilst the time between EPs might well be longer than some bands leave between albums, this can probably be attributed to the fact that singer/keys Katrin Kisza and drummer Siegfried Kröpfel both play in other acts, something which obviously imposes time constraints on frontRegen, but also brings both an impressive level of musicality and talent to the band, and a level of experimentalism only afford by side projects.

Indeed, it's on their latest effort, the aforementioned 'Coming Home' where such experimentalism is really brought to the fore; 'Dead Corner', for instance, features another of the band's trademark piano melodies, whilst a subtle, almost psychedelic hiss and crackle of synth loops behind join and offset the otherwise traditional percussion, Kisza's vocal an interesting combination of Bjork and Ellie Goulding, something which is present throughout 'Coming Home's six tracks.

Elsewhere on the record the band sound not dissimilar to recent Mercury nominees GoGo Penguin, something brought about in no uncertain terms by the emphasis on piano hooks and a live drum kit; the guitars taking a back-seat, occasionally almost to the point of non-existence. It's an interesting approach, one which certainly sets frontRegan apart from other bands, one which is most evident on closing track 'Two Steps. Where the guitars do come in to play, it's with rousing licks of distorted classical guitar, lingering long enough to make an impact but never outstaying their welcome.

By merging traditional instruments and aesthetics with those from the contemporary, frontRegan have created a fusion that is anything but typical. As a result there's plenty for people to dislike, but there's just as much for people to love as well, the hooks and melodies often proving irresistible despite the band's inherently off-kilter sound and often dark musings and as such frontRegan prove themselves  to be a band not to everyone's taste, but one with undeniable talent to match their penchant for theatrics.

Dave Beech

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