2. Eyes of a Wolf
3. Soul Traveler
4. Dizzy Days
5. Comet
6. Henry Distance
7. Rain in Beijing

Lonely Drifter Karen are back with a resolutely pop album, a new song cycle which shatters many preconceived notions of their music. The colours have morphed: gone is the largely acoustic, piano-led instrumentation. This time, analog electronics, Asiatic arpeggios, sliding bass-synths, sinuous guitar riffs and funky grooves abound, while Tanja Frinta's voice is wilder, more vibrant, and seems to have acquired unsuspected new dimensions.

With these new shades and brushes, the band have painted an alternate version of their own, unmistakable world: dreamy, poetic, and slightly surreal, overflowing with those lush arrangements and irresistibly seductive melodies which have become the band's trademark.

The core duet of the group — Austrian singer/guitarist Tanja Frinta & Spanish keyboardist/arranger Marc Melià Sobrevias — are now firmly relocated in Brussels, Belgium.  Following the amicable departure of their long-time drummer, they have enlisted the help of young French guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Clément Marion, and of several percussionists (both of the human and the robotic kind) to launch into sound explorations and create these songs which take the listener on an enticing journey through sound & space.

The songs on Lonely Drifter Karen's first two albums have often been travel stories. On Poles, the travels are mostly extraterrestrial. This wasn't a deliberate decision: the 'space' theme, which runs through the album, has gradually snuck into the songs, partly because Marc's use of certain synth sounds strongly reminded Tanja of the music in some late '70s/early '80s sci-fi movies she's fond of. Accidents also played a part: while listening to a song by Air, Tanja thought they were singing "you need a soul traveler" (the actual lyrics are "universal traveler"), and proceeded to write a new song with that title… When a friend of the band misheard a line in an early version of Brand New World, and thought it referred to a "reptile" instead of a "red tie", Tanja rewrote the story accordingly, and the main character became a huge reptile walking among skyscrapers… As for songs such as Exactly Light and Henry Distance, they seem to talk about love stories between a human and an undefined being referred to as "it" (possibly an alien?).

Aside from the birth of this formidable new album, 2011 also saw the use of LDK's music in a growing number of films and commercials, as well as the band's first foray into China (with a successful 10-date tour), which made a strong impression on Tanja and Marc, who will certainly be back there soon. Meanwhile, let's pack our bags, don our pressurised suits and go where no one has gone before: an exciting expedition to the outer reaches of LDK's expanded pop universe.

Initial press quotes: 

A pop album of the very highest calibre.
'Poles' is seamless, every seemingly effortless song a perfect, melodic, atmospheric gem. 
Tanja Frinta's beautiful, Karen Carpenter-esque voice is the focus.
This is a landmark album. The year is still young, but 'Poles' is one 2012’s best.
(The Arts Desk, UK)

Notes of wistful, 60s Gallic pop, funky, Luscious Jackson-style grooves, loungey, retro-futurist electronica and, on 'Comet', Nu Shooz-like '80s synth pop. All up, it's irresistible.
(Time Out, UK)

We are sincerely in love with the cosmic reveries of this Brussels-based trio, who mix Les Baxter/Esquivel-style space-age pop with the woozy grind of real guitars. Singer Tanja Frinta is quite something to hear — an intergalactic Charlotte Gainsbourg.
(The Word, UK)

The incredibly versatile singing voice of Tanja Frinta (…) can sound serene like Feist or Lyke Li, dark and melancholic like Nancy Sinatra or Lana del Rey or even slightly mad like tUnE-yArDs or Róisín Murphy. What makes (this) all the more admirable and pleasing is that Frinta never actually sounds like any of the aforementioned female singers. Lonely Drifter Karen manage to mould their many-sidedness into instantly accessible song shapes. The level of songwriting is persistently high, echoing the unbounded craftsmanship of Moloko, Beach House and Wir Sind Helden. Poles is one of the most interesting releases of the first quarter of 2012. 
(Indie Fuzz, NL)

The trans-European trio serve up a more synthy, streamlined set of brooding but punchy interplanetary dream pop. Bolder, colder and brushed in chrome, Poles is the sound of a band finding their stride, hitting their straps and reaching new heights.
Frinta finds mantras to chant in many of the songs, every echo sustaining the spell.
For all the rallying chants, however, it is swirling, mercurial instrumental patterns that create the album’s vortexes. The abundance of stylish gloss, eerie allure and ever-chanted refrains create a stylistically cohesive, colourful maelstrom.
(The Line of Best Fit, UK)

About LDK's previous albums:

The instrumental palette is rich as ever and Tanja Frinta's vocals immaculate. Magic intact. (Uncut, UK)

Impeccably arranged, grounded in nagging melodies and rendered genuinely moving by Tanja Frinta's beautiful croon (Q, UK)

Entirely unexpected… drawing its divergent sources into a creative plan of no little grandness… sublime  (PopMatters, US)

A marvelously arranged album. An instrumental fantasia watched through a keyhole…  (Les Inrockuptibles, France)

Magical pop music, illuminated by the joyful melancholia of the Viennese vocalist and the originality of the arrangements (Le Monde, France)

A brillant and deeply original work (Magic, France)

Hypnotic and playful (Vogue France)


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