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After two albums of waifish folk pop (with a distinctly European flair, perhaps due to vocalist Tanja Frinta’s Viennese accent or the band’s pan-European makeup), Lonely Drifter Karen beefs it up a bit. The group now turns out music that's more densely layered and decidedly more pop (Asian, ‘60s-style, electro-flavored, and more) than folk. The band wisely shows restraint where it may have been tempting to ratchet things up with bolder synths, guitars, or more powerful vocals, but Poles—Lonely Drifter Karen's third full-length—holds onto the otherworldly dreamscape feeling that's often at the core of its songs. The brisk, sparkling “Three Colors Red” features a pristine harpsichord riff, with Frinta’s voice feeling as sticky and radio-friendly as Suzanne Vega's or Aimee Mann’s did a few years back. Surely, somewhere, this tune is in rotation and filling “progressive” radio airwaves. Speaking of decades past, “Comet” spins slowly out of a faintly ‘80s tableaux, but there's something inarguably contemporary in its cool guitar plucking, languid beats, and late-night sexiness; it’s one definite high spot among many.


Formed: 2005 in Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

The aptly named pan-European outfit Lonely Drifter Karen has called places as far apart as Barcelona and Brussels home, but it has always revolved around Viennese-born singer/songwriter Tanja Frinta. Frinta began Lonely Drifter Karen in Sweden as a solo project in 2005, releasing the single Sinsweetime, but Majorcan keyboardist/arranger Marc Meliá Sobrevias and Italian drummer Giorgio Menossi joined her when she moved to Barcelona. The trio's debut, 2008's Grass Is Singing, took two years to record...
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Poles, Lonely Drifter Karen
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