Feb 20, 2012 Web Exclusive
Ex-Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts, and Vivian Girls member Frankie Rose certainly has an impressive pedigree. On her 2010 self-titled debut album with ad hoc band The Outs, she cribbed liberally from the oeuvres of her former bands, crafting a record laden with copious reverb and Spector-esque girl group hooks. It was a decent effort, but at times came up creatively fallow, as the formula she tinkered with was a bit staid and formulaic. Here, on her sophomore effort Interstellar, she's billed with her name only, no band attached. It's appropriate, given that this foray establishes Rose as a singularly idiosyncratic musician.
Superb first single "Know Me" is an '80s inspired rave-up, with slashing jangly guitars and an ethereal keyboard melody weaving together in a manner that amalgamates Felt and New Order. "Pair of Wings" digs even more deeply into Rose's newfound rich sonic palette, as she whispers in a vulnerable coo, "Show me your scars and I'll show you mine," buttressed by eerie synths and a soft percussive patter recalling Arthur Russell's "That's Us/Wild Combination."
A cello and lachrymose, ascetic guitar frame the spare closer "The Fall," which sounds a bit out of place when contrasted with the sonic conventionality of much ofInterstellar. Rose's vocals are looped in on themselves, with "Falling away" as the only discernible lyric, sounding like the gasps of someone slipping from corporeality. It's an understatedly elegiac track, and like much of this terrific album, exhibits a surfeit of ambition on Rose's part, even if it's the lone piece of the jigsaw puzzle that doesn't quite fit
On the aforementioned "Know Me," Rose flippantly suggests that we're "Wasting our time on fiction and lies." ButInterstellaris anything but a waste of time. It's Rose's crowning achievement to date, a gorgeously impressionistic album that's a quantum artistic leap forward for this exceptionally talented songwriter.
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 7/10
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