The Barcelona-based group’s debut is full of feel-good choruses with vocals that sometimes teeter on being too precious.
“This world is crazy,” croons Lonely Drifter Karen’s frontwoman Tanja Frinta within the first seconds of Grass Is Singing. And when peering through her Technicolor, happy-go-lucky glasses, boy, is it. Among girls transforming into elephants, hearts beating like tambourines, and angels sighing while ladies turn down ice cream, the Barcelona-based group debuts with a carnival of imagination. Though captivating, Frinta’s lyrical voice teeters on being too precious, especially since the songs are laced with music-box twinkles, romantic pianos, and dreamy accordions. However, it’s easy to forgive when under the spell of feel-good choruses like “Didl dam didl dam didl di,” on “The Owl Moans Low.” The magic isn’t lost in some of the jazzier numbers or those reminiscent of Edith Piaf, and Frinta, with her real-life lover, pianist Marc Melià Sobrevias, even gets sexy with breathy whispers on the Parisian club beauty “Carousel Horses.” When the album delivers its final note, it’s still hard to make sense of the funhouse you’ve just stepped out of, but hey, sometimes that’s the point.