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Frankie Rose

Interstellar

(Slumberland; US: 21 Feb 2012; UK: 19 Mar 2012)

Frankie Rose has been a part of a bunch of bands—Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, etc.—that deal in their own sort of nostalgia, but her second solo record, Interstellar, steps into its own corner of the past. Rose channels the synthier side of the ‘80s new romantics to craft something with an expansive dreamy feel throughout. The album is both wide-open and airy, something that, in the wrong hands, could be spun of thin, sugary layers like cotton candy. Luckily, Rose hasn’t wholly forgotten her rock-band roots when, say, huge drums cuts into the opening title track’s wafting keys to bring the album charging to life. “Gospel/Grace” rumbles on toms and cascading guitars before leaning back into those synths and Rose’s own angelic voice. She does turn fully into the gauzy layers of wandering dream-pop on songs like “Pair of Wings” and “Moon in My Mind”, but the album is at its best when it borrows from the past without sinking into it. Rose shows a sure hand with all these sounds, and a lovelorn knack for emoting—“show me your scars, I’ll show you mine” she convincingly pines on “Pair of Wings”—and her tight compositions end up being so much more than pure nostalgia. It may have a foot in the past, but the hooks and energy are timeless, and Rose is an immediate and striking voice in pop music right now, one that—if she keeps up—may become a part of some future singer’s nostalgia.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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Frankie Rose - Night Swim
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