Album Review



by Frankie Rose

Slumberland Records
7.5 / 10
24th August 2012

Reviewed by Michael Harvey

Frankie Rose has built up an impressive musical CV over the past few years. Drumming with the likes of Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls, as well as fronting her own group, Frankie Rose and the Outs, she has been a connecting thread through a bunch of bands often lumped into a particular Brooklyn scene. While its an undisputed fact that her simple yet effective drumming style anchored the otherwise disparate records Alight of Night and Vivian Girls, Frankie Rose's debut 2010 LP with the Outs showcased her considerable songwriting and guitar talents, as well as moving away from the more lo-fi constraints of her previous bands. Her new album, Interstellar, is a further departure from the debut, ditching "the Outs" moniker and moving forward into a highly-sheened production style, underpinned by keyboards and programming as much as reverb-soaked guitar. 

For someone who has spent a lot of time with bands who operate in a more fuzz-oriented sonic environment, Interstellar is something of revelation with its clean and shimmering textures. The title track billows in on a cloud of synths and vocal coos, before some massive drums enter and truly takes things into space. "Know Me" boasts one of the catchiest choruses on the record, the bubblegum pop elements that have clearly been a constant influence brought refreshingly up-to-date by a production that could happily work in a dance club as well as a hipster bar.

More subtle ambient paths are trod on "Apples For The Sun" and the sublime "Pair Of Wings" and on a track like the single "Night Swim", you get a sense of what the Cocteau Twins might have sounded like if Elizabeth Fraser had grown up a NYC punk rocker. Whilst the material's conceptual unity and lush production make this a cohesive album, there is the odd occasionally rehashed moment. "Had We Had It" loses its impact somewhat after hearing "Daylight Sky", both featuring driving bass lines not entirely removed from each other.

The occasional misstep aside, the slightly retro production gloss gives the record an otherworldly atmosphere and harkens back to familiar sounds that you can't quite put your finger on. However, it's testament to Rose's writing that the songs never seem too contrived. By the time the guitar refrain and vocals of "The Fall" fade from the speakers, it feels like you are floating in space.

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