Following 2014's excellent Holding the Mirror for Sophia Loren and a 2015 tribute collection that saw artists like Mouse on Mars and Dean & Britta covering their songs, German duo Donna Regina return with their latest set of mesmerizing indie electronic pop songs. Husband-and-wife team Günther and Regina Janssen have a knack for building exquisitely detailed electro-organic arrangements that dance around the borders of mystique and comfort. On Transient, the couple's 13th LP, they add ten more rooms to their strange musical lodge, expanding in subtle new directions without straying too far from their signature sound. A warm melancholia colors opener "Royal Blue" as Regina incants a litany of wistful goodbyes over a minimalist framework of gently pulsing synths, handclaps, and fluttering mandolins. Unlike the bulk of the band's earlier catalog, this is one of only a handful of songs sung in English as Donna Regina continue to embrace the multilingual approach they began on their previous outing. The quirky circus throb of the German-sung "Blitze" is followed by selections in French and Spanish, all cloaked in a variety of rhythmic assemblages where guitars, pianos, and analog synths intertwine in peculiar but inviting ways. Even when working in an overcast tone, Donna Regina retain a sense of abstract playfulness, tossing out waves of color on the bubbly "L'art Pour L'art" or dancing nimbly between multilingual phrases on the dreamy "Melancholy Dragon." As layered as their approach is, there is still a sense of space within the songs that makes each nuanced twist and turn a joy to notice. Nearly three decades into their career, Donna Regina continue to create fresh, intricate, and sophisticated music that lives squarely in the now.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger