Review by Tony Rounce
Like their fellow ‘little big bands’ ARXX and Wolfs, Fräulein make a big noise for a small outfit, both in the studio and live.
Their show with ARXX and Grandma’s House at the Crofters Rights in Bristol back in late January 2020 was one of the last I saw before the first lockdown. I bought into their excellence from the opening notes of their very first number, Joni’s wispy, ethereal vocal style and pithy guitar being the perfect counterpart to Karsten’s jazzy polyrhythms.
I would most assuredly have seen them several times by now, had Covid19 not taken live entertainment away from me. Happily the opportunity to see them again will be here soon, with South London gigs in May and June in the offing.
A Dutch-Northern Irish coalition by way of the West country, and now based on God’s own side of the River Thames, the duo has managed to transfer an impressive live presence to ‘Pretty People’, their ‘proper’ debut studio recording.
The first thing that grabs the attention is Karsten’s considerable command of his kit and his total mastery of an impressive time signature. Joni’s by-turns beguilingly whispered verses and full throated choruses convey perfectly the message of the song, which Fräulein themselves say is “about refusing to be small, even if the people around you are telling you to be.” (A sentiment always worth subscribing to, in this writer’s eyes).
An inventive and abrasive (n the nicest possible way!) concoction, it demonstrates just how far they have come in a very short time, and how much progress that have made as a band even without a live audience to feed off. Compare it with their brace of lockdown demos on Bandcamp, and you’ll see what I mean.
Fräulein are two very sweet people, for whom big things are predicted. Largely by me at the moment, perhaps, but I feel sure that it won’t be too long before their swirly smorgasbord of slightly-delic musical treats is on the watch list of many others. I defy anyone not to be thoroughly impressed by ‘Pretty People’, a record that you’ll want to hear more than once, and then some more…
‘Pretty People’ is out now. Connect with Fräulein on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. ‘Pretty People’ is available to buy and download on Joni and Karsten’s Bandcamp page, as are their earlier two demo singles and a bunch of merch. Catch them live at Studio 9294 on May 29th and the Amersham Arms on June 3rd but not at the Windmill on May 26th as it’s sold out already…