Reviewing only new releases means that some slip through the net. The holiday lull provides some time to catch up. So, here are a few thoughts about an album that was missed first time around.
Frankie Rose – Interstellar
As a former member of Crystal Stilts, The Vivian Girls, and The Dum Dum Girls, Frankie Rose is all-girl garage/shoegaze band royalty. Sure, as in all royal contexts, there’s a fair amount of in-breeding involved. But this is an indie family tree that most would-be all-girl garage/shoegaze bands can only dream of. Having been a serial band member for some time, Frankie Rose has now stepped out on her own. Interstellar was released way back in February last year. In some ways, it’s not much of a departure. Heavy with synths throughout, there are tracks with driving baselines and powerful percussion. There are also slower tracks with swirly themes. Whatever about its musical novelty, Interstellar is a great listen because it’s packed full of memorable hooks. ‘Know Me’ is simply impossible not to hum. ‘Gospel/Grace’ has a great tempo. And then there’s the swirly numbers. The highlight is ‘Pair of Wings’. The lyrics are not Nobel Prize for Literature material, but, again, the melody will stay in your head. Whether it’s the slow songs or the quick ones, what makes the album stand out is Frankie Rose’s voice itself. It’s only pushing it a bit too far to say that it has a Victoria Legrand quality to it. The similarity lies partly in the presence of so many looooong vowels. But also partly in the relaxed delivery. It would be easy to shout along to the up tempo numbers, making them angry statements. Instead, the vocals are always restrained, yet still strong. This is no fey dream pop album. This is a mature work by an artist with a royal pedigree who has learned how to make the most of her voice and her own material.