Lea W. Frey: How Soon Is Now: Release Information
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Release Date: 05.04.2013
TT Catalogue No: 4583
Lea W. Frey - “How Soon Is Now”
“How Soon Is Now” Lea W. Frey asks on her second CD, which - after her debut “We Can’t Rewind” from 2011 rightly received euphorically raving reviews – has been longingly awaited, not only in her hometown Berlin. The title isn’t her creation, but a reference to a song of the Britpop-band The Smiths. The young Berliner however, translates this motto to her very own stage of ideas and elements. Exactly these elements with all their qualities – the play of the molecules drifting apart and clashing together, the abrupt transition from one aggregate state to the other, the unobtrusive succession of color changes – compose the cool fascination of this CD.
Cool? Weren’t the personal nearness and warmth the great strength of “We Can’t Rewind”? There she absorbed pop-songs of different origin into her own sinister parallel world, that unfolds to the listener’s ear somewhere between the moon’s hesitant fading, and the vague foreboding of the first sunbeam at the horizon. Frey still remains entirely true to herself on her new CD; her voice is unmistakably herself, but she creates a new environment for herself. Contours become much more defined, perspectives shift. What was just perceived as nearness, suddenly becomes distance. This is not the kind of distance that permanently keeps you at bay, but rather an alluring kind of a seemingly insurmountable gap, like we know it from Nordic figures like Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen or Björk. The farther she moves away from the ear, the faster she reaches the soul. The fundamental tone of the CD is white. The obtrusively monochrome, but ultimately empty white, which the laundry detergent ad would refer to as “lily-white”, is here contrasted with the glistening white of crusty snow, that burns in the eyes, because it breaks the light thousandfold and at closer look blasts the complete spectrum of the rainbow into tiny color pigments. These dots are quickly condensed by perception to a wintery elf-twinkle. The entity of these incredibly detailed songs expresses a subtle invitation. Lea W. Frey’s songs and interpretations are as light as the clear air on a cloudless winter day, but are not at all suited as background music. They desire to be conquered, permeated and internalized. It’s not until then, that they attain and develop warmth.
Again the new CD gathers numerous classics of the rock, pop and folk history. The spectrum goes from Bob Dylan, Nick Drake and The Beatles across The Smiths, The Cure and Depeche Mode all the way to The Verve or Nirvana. Powerful songs. The term “cover-version” would be completely out of place. “Adaption” wouldn’t be quite right either. Lea W. Frey picks up the songs in the state of their primal intention, in the stadium that preceded the materialization and the zeitgeist’s influence. She builds upon the basis of this spiritual core of the songs with her outright feeling for beauty, clarity and poetry. She pulls the songs out of context, revalues them, and lets them tell a new and unique story.
It’s noticeable that almost all the pieces are derived from originals that were sung by men. Lea W. Frey discovers the feminine in the male, like she also – following the album’s title - calls forth the present in the future. The only piece coming from a female singer is Kate Bush’s “And Dream Of Sheep”. She likes exchanging the context and in her dynamic continuity even breaking these changes. With the magic of her voice she seeks her own in the foreign and takes the listener into a labyrinth of colors and shapes. At the end there waits a paradisiac garden in the midst of everyday life, from which the great vocal seductress neither can nor wants to free herself.
Lea W. Frey is not a lone wolf. Just like on “We Can’t Rewind” she steadily works with Peter and Bernhard Meyer, who create the matching scenery for each one of these little sparkling song-dramas. The Meyer-brothers are equally passionate storytellers as the singer herself. Their sound-stories and Lea W. Frey’s song-stories combine to a perfect alliance, in which the voice becomes sound and the sound becomes a voice. “How Soon Is Now” is way more electronic than its predecessor, but all the electronics still seem deeply organic. No wonder, because the basics for these insightful soundscapes were once again all created purely acoustically on guitar and bass. In this way Lea W. Frey’s second CD for Traumton Records is one of the very rare works of art, where distant coolness on one side and organic intimacy on the other do not contradict, but rather make up a harmonious whole.