Frankie Rose

Herein Wild

Fat Possum

Sep 27, 2013 Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT Bookmark and Share


Ex-Crystal Stilt, ex-Vivian Girl, and ex-Dum Dum Girl Frankie Rose releases her third album as a solo act, Herein Wild-40odd minutes of bright and breezy dream pop with a bittersweet edge to it. Rose's debut solo outing, 2010's Frankie Rose and the Outs, was a straight-up melodic garage rock record, while 2012's follow-up Interstellar saw the Brooklyn artist drop "and the Outs" from her name and head off in a dreamier, more synth-driven direction. Herein Wild carries on in a largely similar vein to Interstellar, its 10 polished and dreamy tracks mixing the twee indie pop of bands like The Pastels with the glossy, synth-based power pop of '80s female acts such as Kim Wilde and Nena. Unsurprisingly, given the sound of Rose's earlier bands and her place on Slumberland Records' roster, there's a strong spirit of C86 running through her solo workbut on Herein Wild, all the rough, metallic edges of those shambling guitar chords are smoothed over with slick synth arrangements and Rose's velvety vocal harmonies, for better or worse.

The voice is really the main focus here, as pleasant as all the surrounding music isbest presented in "Cliffs As High," Rose's haunting vocals minimally accompanied by mournful, drawn-out piano chords and lush, sinewy strings. The song stands out in stark contrast to the rest of the album, which ping-pongs between gently driving synth-led numbers and soft-edged jangle pop tracks that sound like The Smiths covered by Suzanne Vega. It's all very agreeable, but other than "Cliffs As High," none of the tracks really stand out from each other, cascading gently over the listener without really making much of an impression. This is possibly down to the mixing, which seems to have flattened everything out and filtered it through a rose-tinted, soft-focus lensRose's voice so smoothly perfect it almost sounds like a computer simulation, the metallic guitar twangs smothered in synths and string arrangements like a knife wrapped in five inches of plastic bubble wrap. Herein Wild is a nice record, skillfully executed, but it's essentially the aural equivalent of living in a padded cell: so soft and secure you find yourself yearning for some harsh everyday reality. (www.missfrankierose.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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