^^(awesome cover art, by the way)
Looking for a slower-paced, angelically beautiful, minimalistic-ly brilliant, guitar trembling, synth slamming album that is soaking wet with reverb and will even get you to bob that head occasionally? No, I’m not talking about M83‘s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, but if you’re looking for the female version of it with half the tracks and teensy bit less complexity, yet no less sincere, than look no further than former Dum Dum Girl, Frankie Rose’s second solo album, Interstellar.
There is no question that female leads have been solidly blowing up the indie music scene lately. Sleigh Bells, Tennis, and Lana Del Rey have all recently dropped good-to-great albums, and it looks like their competition just got quite a bit tougher with Frankie Rose’s newest release. Frankie began her music career in the Brooklyn-based indie group Crystal Stilts. Moving on to Vivian Girls, and then to my favorite of her joint efforts, Dum Dum Girls, she has now fully blossomed into the musical wonder she really is. Still based in Brooklyn, but now without the lower-quality feel to her music that is so popular in that area, Frankie has replaced her lo-fi feel with dynamic synths and guitar riffs that sound like they are being played from another world. Not to mention prevalent bass lines that tend to stick out and groove you in all the right places. This album is like crossing the elegance of Enya’s vocal stylings (minus weird/terrible lyrics) with the musical talents of a poor-man’s Sigur Ros (which is still better than a rich mans almost-anything).
The album begins with the title track, “Interstellar”. This is awesome in itself. Rarely do albums jump the gun by feeding you the title track right off the cuff. So much goes into naming an album, and when you blatantly pick the name of a random track off said album (which obviously many bands do), you are putting a lot of weight on that particular track’s shoulders. I’ve hardly seen anyone lead with it before, but “Interstellar” jumpstarts the album in an incredibly majestic fashion. A slow, smooth intro, that draws you in with its lingering synths, then slowly evolves until it just all out busts lose for the second half of the song. It somewhat reminds me of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’s intro, without the creepiness of Zola Jesus, and a much more minimal synth line.
The album then goes on to continue to remind the listener of the 80’s era music that didn’t suck (not to be confused with the 80’s sound that DID suck) for the next 9 tracks, and does it with grace, pop, intrigue, and reverb. I love reverb. A lot of people get annoyed with the cavern-sounding emptiness of it. I realize it doesn’t sound good everywhere, but with artist such as Frankie, or The xx, it is more than a perfect match.
^^And yes, that’s right … you just go Rick Roll’d!
The last three tracks of the album get a bit slow, which I believe makes some people think the album is totally front loaded. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although the beginning of the album is quite a lot of fun, the last three tracks are devastating enough to make you shed a few tears, reevaluate your very being on this planet, and find God. If it doesn’t do so, than you clearly weren’t listening to the album. Interstellar, in its entirety, is full of this desire and hope that instills chills through my body while I listen to it. It is a cold, relentless hope that is desperately on the verge of being shattered forever. Listening to the album tends to make my heart cringe because of Frankie’s willingness to be so vulnerable. “All that I want is a pair of wings to fly/Into the blue of wide open skies/Show me your scars and I’ll show you mine/Perched above the city on a pair of power lines/ … I just might fall, but I’ll take that chance”. As she sings these lyrics, the music melodramatically builds in a way that makes you feel as if she just may have “fallen”, but didn’t really give a damn. That is one example of the relentless hope I was talking about, and love so much. With lyrics/music like that, it is admittedly hard for me to not get emotionally invested in this album. She draws the listener in with the grace of her lyrics, as well as the subtlety of her voice, and doesn’t let you go without making you think a little bit.
^^ I’m glad she takes the chance …
For a sophomore attempt by solo female artist, I am seriously impressed with Frankie Rose. I have a feeling this is yet another album that will for the most part go somewhat unnoticed this year. I certainly hope not. I feel that songs like “Moon in My Mind”, and “Pair of Wings” have the ability to be some of those tracks I revert back to a lot for late night or early morning drives for quite some time. Or maybe just those moments where I like to sit in thought as I fall asleep. While at the same time “Gospel/Grace”, “We Had It”, and “Know Me” have the ability to get stuck in my head repeatedly throughout the day like a catchy pop tune.
Unlike Incubus’ use of the word, this is an album that lives up to it’s name. It is truly, quite stellar.
Can’t Miss: “Moon in My Mind”, “Had We Had It” “Pair of Wings”, “Gospel/Grace”
Can’t Hit: None of the tracks on this album deserve to be listed here.