Frankie Rose - Interstellar

An album of epic proportions, one about dreaming of some ‘other’ place, somewhere truly interstellar.

‘Know Me’ left me somewhat bamboozled when it popped up on my Hype Machine last month; who was this Frankie Rose and what had she done with the real Frankie Rose? Here was a compelling pop paragon of speedy beats, carefree bass rolls and Marr-esque axe jangles, and one of the catchiest songs released in months. It was immersive, icy and genuinely mesmeric. But where was all the distortion?

‘Interstellar’ is an outright pop record because Rose was tired of the plenitude of 80s-aping girl-pop-indebted rock bands playing clear-cut three-chord garage tunes in and around her now native Brooklyn. Laid down at the Thermometer Factory in the Park Slope area, her retort is an album of epic proportions, one about dreaming of some ‘other’ place, somewhere truly interstellar. It’s a glammy, histrionic oeuvre which rather than drawing inspiration from The Shangri-Las, transcends her past and looks more towards 80s pop: from The Cure to The Sundays. Rose’s time spent in scuzzy garage groups Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts and Frankie Rose & The Outs, who all emulated a distinctive C86 sleaze and Spector-esque production, is gone. Indeed, the only remnants of her former fuzz on ‘Know Me’ lie in the dreamy verses’ shoegaze lethargy rather redolent of MBV’s Bilinda Butcher.

One indication of this new-found New Wavey pop sound (think Tom Tom Club meets Cocteau Twins) was her appointment of knobtwiddler Le Chev, Passion Pit producer and Fischerspooner collaborator. The inevitable result is a crisper, more polished sound. Be it the soaring, palatial synth twinks, ethereal harmonies and BSP-scale riffing anthemia of opener ‘Interstellar’, the futuristic ‘Gospel/Grace’ with its incredible intertwining vocal flourishes, reverby guitar climaxes and simple yet insidious bass hooks or the more snarly and sinister ‘Moon In My Mind’, the production is all chart-ready pristine.

Although she’s denied the influence of bands like The Shangri-Las and The Exciters, you can still hear it loud and clear on tracks like the capricious ‘Apples For The Sun’, which in its rippling rises and falls sounds a bit like Hope Sandoval had she dabbled in ambient, similarly with the garrotting ‘Night Swim’, which is more akin to Rose’s days backed by The Outs. The Fall is an aptly perfect culmination: underpinned by deep cello bows, overlaid with indistinguishable yet effortless coos and yelps, her creeping guitars assault. And that’s our 32.5 minutes of utter ecstasy over. Replay please.

Tags: Frankie Rose, Frankie Rose & The Outs, Reviews, Album Reviews

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