LIVE REVIEW: Fräulein at Rough Trade East, London

I may have a 637 day streak on Duolingo learning German as I hit Rough Trade East, but that pesky grüne Eule hasn’t taught me the meaning of Fräulein yet. It’s a good job too, as the definition of an unmarried young woman has changed, you silly owl! Fräulein now flaunt ferocious confidence and effortless efficiency in stacked platform Doc Marten boots.

Drummer, Karsten, kicks off his shoes and takes his place behind the kit. From the outset, singer/guitarist, Joni, delivers breathy PJ Harvey-esque vocals before racing into classy Hole fretboard frenetics. But don’t be fooled by fleeting comparisons, this duo will scramble your brain with spaghetti disco hi-hat beats and swerving guitar tempo changes.

They barely pause to study their surroundings as they fire off into their second single, ‘Belly’, which is accompanied by the crowd letting out a yell of whoops. You’re either with us or against us: negative creeps are outnumbered and outgunned here.

‘And I Go (La La La)’ is a summer festival anthem-in-waiting, although for all its high-spirited, singalong vigour, digging beneath the surface lurk lyrics about submission and the loss of self.

“This should be easy…”, laments Joni, as she plucks out a menacing undertone whilst standing on tippy-toes during ‘Breezy’.

The grand finale of ‘Golden Boy’ receives a hero’s welcome as it lurches and sputters forth with razor-sharp drums and Joni’s melancholy vocals, lyrics arguably picking at the scab of deflation and sadness as one feels powerless to keep their lover from slipping away from them.

All 4 tracks from their ‘A Small Taste’ EP are aired this evening. It was released digitally in May but those snaking queues at record pressing plants have delayed the physical 12″ release until November (pre-orders are almost sold out on their Bandcamp page).

There’s a sense of foreboding, uncertainty, darkness and anxiety gnawing at the band’s lyrical core. In short, the perfect combo for our social media-obsessed and dystopian present, because even our existential crisis needs great tunes with which to laugh, cry and sing together.

Follow Fräulein on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Review by Mandy Bang (London After Midnite)
Photos by Mark Dans L’Espace

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