The Weather's Fine

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Something is happening in Estonia. Beginning in the late '90s with the group Pia Fraus, the small Baltic country has inexplicably become a breeding ground for a myriad of shoegaze and dream pop revival acts. Largely centered around the capital city of Tallinn, known for cool summers and colder winters, a group of like-minded bands have dialed into the swirling, icy tones of genre touchstones like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and the Cocteau Twins. Among these resurgents are the trio Picnic who released their debut record, Winter Honey, in 2010. A dreamy mix of heavily delayed synths, guitars, and programmed drums, Winter Honey introduced the group's fundamental sound: light, but lush indie pop wrapped around singer Marju Taukar's austere voice. It was a charming first effort, if a bit inconsistent. Their sophomore release, The Weather's Fine, continues to blend elements of electronica (glitchy, sampled beats) with hazy, morphine-blossomed guitars, occasionally amping up the shoegaze elements with a deep layer of fuzz on slightly more uptempo tracks like "Have It All" and "In the Cold." Still, Weather largely spends its time in the moody, ethereal mire laid out by first-wave 4AD bands of yore. Stand-out tracks like the sprawling "Too Fast" (which also appears in a different version on Winter Honey) and the slow, sunny "I Am Here" show a band with genuine artistic promise, but taken in one long sip, The Weather's Fine feels a little too concerned with reproducing long-established patterns rather than reimagining them.

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