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Album Review

This male/female Krautrock combo fashions a style of electronic pop that holds a thing or three in common with the likes of Lali Puna and Saint Etienne. Like those two, Donna Regina's Northern Classic fancies synthetic percussion and soft melodies accoutred by even softer atmospheric swabs from more organic sources like vibraphones and acoustic guitars. Regina Janssen's feather-light, whispering voice is now more likely to sing in English than in French (as heard before this), and it's quite apparent that English isn't her first language as the lyrics aren't the most complex or meaningful. It shouldn't be difficult to prevent them from altering your enjoyment of the record, because the melodocism is fresh and the music itself, however fluffy it is, is far too cozy and nice if you're in the right frame of mind. If you have trouble getting past or ignoring the simplistic lyrics — about cute boys, taking things slow, and rosy views of youth, among other things — just ask a Depeche Mode fan how they're able see past that group's lyrics. But again, focusing on the lyrics would be a tough thing to do when the productions are so crafty and full of hooks, and it's not as if the lyrics come close to approaching the drama of anything written by Martin Gore. Most everything glides by in midtempo. "Why Do You Ask" is the quickest and most aggressive of the bunch, with a breezy dance beat backed by swells of synth strings and a twinkly mallet lick. The remainder slinks and slides and swirls and tingles in a manner that won't exactly get you all worked up, but that's not the point. Sometimes something pleasant and subtle is in order.


Formed: 1992 in 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. While most...
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northern classics, Donna Regina
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