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Album Review

This group from Cologne, now a trio, has entered a second decade with little signs of aging. Their previous two albums for Karaoke Kalk, along with this one, stand as their best, most thoroughly enjoyable releases. So it seems as if they're just now hitting their stride, even if the slight refinements are being processed at such a slow, deliberate pace. On Late, they continue to produce soft electronic pop that any downtempo or chillout-themed mix album could benefit from — the most rhythmic moments in particular, like the gently rolling "Passer-By" and the puddle-jumping plink and plonk of "Rain." Late contains several of the group's most craftily arranged songs; the extra touches rarely weigh the songs down, and they're arranged with an impressive level of detail, as if French pop icons and modern-day peers have all been studiously devoured. The album does contain a couple surprising diversions: the back-to-back sequence that involves "You Better Believe"'s backwoods shuffle and "Driftwood"'s Pole-inspired lounge dub can be jarring, and may come across as unnecessary aimlessness. Regardless, it's a shame more people outside Europe don't know about them. Their Broadcast-off-acid sound deserves a much wider fan base. As for now — if not forever — they'll have to settle for being a cult band that a few thousand secretive record hounds obsess over.

Biography

Formed: Cologne, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

During an existence that spanned nearly two decades and produced several albums, Cologne, Germany-based electronic indie pop group Donna Regina — centered around the breathy vocals of singer Regina Janssen, who worked alongside Günther Janssen, her fellow producer, multi-instrumentalist, and husband — were initially compared to Saint Etienne and One Dove. Through the years, however, they established a distinct, relaxed sound throughout a consistently stimulating and hushed body of work....
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Late, Donna Regina
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