CD REVIEW: Frankie Rose - Interstellar
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Frankie Rose
Label: Slumberland Records
Genre: Alternative Rock, Ambient Psychedelic Rock
Sounds Like: Cocteau Twins, Slowdrive, Moby, Prodigy, Cranes
Weakness: A Few Winded Songs, Mix
Brooklyn’s Frankie Rose just released her latest CD entitled Interstellar in 2012. As a founding member, songwriter, instrumentalist and vocalist in Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls, 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.
The CD gently takes to flight with soothing intro piece “Interstellar”. This song methodically serves up infectious musical ambience against mesmerizing rhythm that gently leads you by the hand down the path of what I would describe a progressive musical indulgence. Track 2 “Know Me” shifts gears a bit with its driving rock rhythm, melancholy groove and impressive sonic accents painted against impressive vocal flair and a grand mosaic of chill-type soundscapes. This piece brilliantly move across your ears very much like an ocean flows an ebbs across the sand. Track 3 “Gospel/Grace” is an impressive psychedelic piece that is quite dynamic, full of musical peaks and valleys that flow and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. The first 3 pieces are remarkably striking to the ears with their spaced out, trippy grooves. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of a classic Cocteau Twins, Slowdrive, Moby, Prodigy and even Cranes. I would classify this music as Psychedelic Ambient Rock-Pop with hints of New Age, Dub and Chill elements - all possessing brilliant flashes of theatrical ambience. You will also notice rich layers of ambient instrumentation layered along the way full of dynamic sequencing, melodic soundscapes, sporadic drums and percussion, piano, guitar, sonic vocals, exotic sound effects and enticing melodies. The vocal abilities from Rose work extremely well within the confines of this catalog. Make no bones about it she‘s an impressive front woman (vocals and visuals) and delivers much in the way of emotion, reckless abandon and seductive persona. All band members play their parts extremely well song for song and note for note. The musicianship and compositions are pretty solid across the board delivering 10 trippy yet compelling pieces of music. Rose proves herself as a composer, singer and songwriter with this solo release. From melodic "Daylight Sky” to heartfelt “Pair of Wings” to my personal favorite “Night Swim” to striking “Hollow Life” and Moon in My Mind” this CD Pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “The Fall” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to grad you to the finish line. The Mix: Though adequate not the most effective I’ve ever heard. CD tends to sound overly saturated in reverb and at times sounds overly sonic on really high end stereo systems and loud speakers. This approach does work on some tracks but not on some of the more rocked out pieces. I might add the bar is set really high for independent artists like Frankie Rose on this area.
From start to finish Interstellar from Frankie Rose is a rock solid musical statement from start to finish. It’s an extremely consistent, catchy, and highly melodic. Its strength - it’s just fascinating listen to with songs that are extremely mysterious, infectious and dark. The music will grab the listener refusing to let go. All in all Frankie Rose combines amazing songwriting with top flight production touches, entertaining songs and a feminine mystique that will mystify many.