|Frankie Rose – Interstellar (2012)
Frankie Rose – Interstellar
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: February 21, 2012
Record Label: Slumberland Records
Frankie Rose is an artist constantly on the move. Since the mid-noughties, Rose has been rather prolific, serving as a founding member of noise pop outfits Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, and Crystal Stilts, all before going solo with 2010’s Frankie Rose and the Outs, ditching the lo-fi sound of her previous bands in favor of a reverbed take on the harmony-laden 60’s AM pop sound. Two years later, Rose returns, sans her touring band the Outs, with Interstellar. On Interstellar, Rose has shed the 60’s girl group meets shoegaze sound of the first disc, and those garage punk roots are a distant memory. This time around, Rose’s retro stylings have jumped ahead a couple of decades to the 80’s, specifically the C86 era. Interstellar opens with a celestial wash of analog synth and ghostly vocals before the hyperdrive is suddenly activated, thunderous drums sending the song soaring through space at breakneck speed. Yes, Frankie Rose still brings the rock even when dabbling in dream pop. The grandiosity of the title track is never quite matched on the rest of the album, but what follows are some highly infectious pieces of jangle pop. Interstellar is at its best when Rose throws some other 80’s influences into the mix, such as on the Joy Division-channeling body mover “Night Swim”, which is post-punk darkness at its grooviest paired with jubilant, dreamy vocals. “Daylight Sky” takes the most mournful of new wave synth textures and pairs it with Rose’s immaculate, waif-like vocal coos. Interstellar may not bring something wholly original or novel to the already crowded scene of like-minded, nostalgic, ethereal pop acts, but its 32 minutes are simply too sublimely crafted to ignore.
01. Interstellar 3:29
02. Know Me 2:53
03. Gospel/Grace 3:02 // MP3: Frankie Rose :: Gospel/Grace
04. Daylight Sky 2:46
05. Pair Of Wings 4:03
06. Had We Had It 3:05
07. Night Swim 2:34
08. Apples For The Sun 4:04
09. Moon In My Mind 3:09
10. The Fall 3:27
Total Length: 32:30 // Frankie Rose is a vocalist, songwriter and musician living in Brooklyn, NY. She was formerly an original member of acclaimed garage rock acts Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and the Vivian Girls.
As a founding member, songwriter, instrumentalist and vocalist in Vivian Girls and drummer and occasional vocalist in Crystal Stilts, Frankie Rose has been an integral part of two of the most highly acclaimed and influential groups to come out of Brooklyn’s still-vital music scene in the past several years. Her solo project not only reflects the aesthetic earmarks of both those groups, but it also reveals her as a fully-formed artist in her own right.
Ms. Rose’s music is haunted by the ghosts of 60s girl group, Brill Building, and 80s and 90s noise pop in equal measure. It’s a spooky, lovely sound — Frankie’s ethereal yet affectation-free voice swirling in a sea of church-like harmonies over a bed of tambourines, bells, and propulsive drumming. Recalling in spirit such groups as The Aislers Set and Black Tambourine, Frankie’s music is both timeless and immediate, both deeply personal and completely universal.
Pitchfork cited her song “Where Do You Run To?” as one of the best of 2008, and now with much anticipation The legendary Slumberland Records brings Frankie’s debut 7”. Recorded at Marlborough Farms Studio with Gary Olson, Kyle Forrester and Crystal Stilts’ J.B. Townsend…
When Frankie Rose revealed Interstellar’s incredibly catchy first single, “Know Me,” she tapped in to a familiar place, and I’m not just talking about the ease in which she weaves a tapestry of colors into a fully realized dream-pop single worthy of 4AD comparisons. There’s an intimacy and expansiveness in the song that recalls Lush’s shy stepping-stones; like a cross between “Breeze”, “Sunbathing” and pretty much all of the band’s pre-Spooky material. “Know Me” only hints at what Interstellar has in store for listeners, but I wouldn’t call Rose a tease. This is a girl you take home to meet the family after at least two full-album spins and a full day of running errands for the sake of hanging out with each other, at least that’s what the dream pop kids used to do.
Rose not only treats us to a nostalgic trip, there are layers of vocals smothered across multiple tracks within one song, synths that stretch like taffy but melt like ice cream and sparkling guitar leads that are reminiscent of Will Sergeant’s brilliant picking style and sound. The entire album is magnificent to say the least. Once you come back down to Earth you’ll begin to hear love stories that are tragic and personal. Maybe you’re projecting, but you always get the sense that she already moved on once the pen left the paper’s surface, so you follow her lead. Interstellar is a record that feels so elegant, so physical and so real.
“Daylight Sky” and “Gospel/Grace” open with gorgeous guitar leads. The choruses are quick bursts of energy that give you little warning but signify a triumphant and celebratory moment, even though my gut tells me there’s travesty or a process of letting go deeply rooted within the entire album. “Had We Had It” is the sound of being disappointed but still stuck in love as Rose sings, “Could we, we had it all”, then rearranges a few of the words in a repetitive fashion during the chorus. All of a sudden she’s free again.
Layers upon layers of phrases and verses serve as the key ingredient, and are the most resonating feature on certain tracks. They accentuate every guitar line and gentle wash of warm synth, or they become simply overwhelming with harmonies that blur into the overall mix. It’s a gigantic sound that overshadows the instruments at times. This is especially memorable on the more delicate tracks “Pair of Wings”, “Apples for the Sun”, and the angelic closer, “The Fall.” You’ll want these songs to go one forever.
Rare is the album that aligns its moods and soul with a gift for storytelling. But guess what? I found one. words/ s mcdonald
Fortaken: Aquarium Drunkard / Justin Gage (Founder/Editor) — Los Angeles, CA
- Frankie Rose and the Outs, Slumberland, 2010
- Interstellar, Slumberland, 2012
- Know Me, Slumberland, 2012
- Thee Only One, Slumberland, 2009
Also: By Steven Hyden
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|Frankie Rose – Interstellar (2012)