Frankie Rose – Interstellar

Rating: ★★★★½

Not too long ago, Frankie Rose brought you her first debut solo album under the moniker Frankie Rose and the Outs. It was an album filled to the brim with ethereal jangly pop weighed down by the dark, whispery vocals of Frankie herself. It’s been a year or two since this self-titled album and now she’s back with a second solo effort.  In that time it seems that Frankie decided The Outs were ‘out’ and that she would go for the sophomore completely on her own. In this choice, she shows but a shadow of the new step of confidence that comes on Interstellar.

If you take a look at the cover of this album, you’ll find that it matches the name of the album, as well as the new direction of sound that it takes: dark, groovy, psychedelic. The album opens with the title track, with waves of synth floating in, crafting a space-y, outer galaxy feel. Frankie wafts in after, her voice as whispery as before, but by no means meek and she only gets a few soft words in before the song picks up. This energy picks up where the last album left off, showing that Frankie intends to go farther than she had before. There’s a new ferocity that seems to be egged on by the extra layer of synthesized atmospheric noise.

Said energy continues to the second track, “Know Me,” whose guitars seem to be swirling everywhere at once, backed with the energetic drumbeats that keep the song at its frantic, yet ever controlled pace. It’s controlled chaos; so many elements combining in a three-minute treat that will have you grooving right along. “Gospel/Grace” gives you some deeper, rolling beats that change the pace a bit but keeps the driving energy that is ever-present on Interstellar. This energy is what sets this album above the previous and what keeps it moving all the way to the end.

Frankie pushes her way through ten tracks in what feels like no time at all. She keeps you entertained all the way through; there isn’t a lull in energy, as the middle numbers don’t dissipate from the enticing qualities that make the beginning of this album so good. Even on the last track, “The Fall,” which lacks percussion in general, you still have the ethereal power that hangs behind Interstellar, transfixing you to start all over again, relishing in the dreamy, supernatural, atmospheric pop that is so piercing to the ear.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/02_Know_Me.mp3]

Download: Frankie Rose – Know Me [MP3]

Frankie Rose and the Outs – s/t

Rating: ★★★★☆

With all the great lo-fi bands floating around, something is to be said about making a space pop album that doesn’t sound like all the rest. Frankie Rose should know this the best out of anyone, as she has been a member of many successful pop bands herself:  Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls. Other bands cast aside, Frankie proves her knowledge of this craft with this semi-solo project.

The album starts out on a gradual pace, with only bare instrumental to begin, slowly submersing you into each layer of the opening song. First heard is the quivering feedback, which holds steady until Frankie Rose comes in to soak the song in a tone of wonder and bemusement that her echoed vocals provide. Next, sleigh bells are added for an element of percussion that carries the music slowly on, as Frankie repeats the same simple words, over and over. Is this the same person who was apart of bands that brought light and jangly pop songs to the table? Apparently not, as “Hollow Life,” is a deeper and completely different sound than anything Frankie and any of her previous accompaniments have put out before. Different, but overwhelmingly good.

That being said, this solo effort is not a complete turn from Frankie’s prior works. “Little Brown Haired Girls,” shoots out of the gate with driving drum beats, crashing cymbals and girlish gang vocals; sort of a combination of elements from the first two songs. You have the softer vocals from “Hollow Life,” mixed with a more prominent guitar part that “Candy,” the song in between these two, brings. It is a sure sign that there are still excellent quality pop beats to be enjoyed on this album.

 The rest of the album mostly follows suit from these two songs. There are softer songs such as “Lullabye For Roads And Miles,” which is as expected from its title, reliant on the lack of the quick drum beat and more focused on leaving a little emptiness to carry the song instead. And there are instances of superior jams, like “Girlfriend Island.” On this number, some la la la’s add to the catchiness of the guitar and proves this to be a song that is difficult to stay still to; it is impossible for me to stop tapping along with that irresistible drum beat.

 From this point, Frankie Rose And The Outs move through the rest of the songs quickly and wrap up their first full length album gracefully. They successfully combine a new hollow sound with the well loved, classic low-fi pop that bands like Vivian Girls are known for. With the slow moving songs so effervescent and the fast paced songs reminiscent of the sunny summer days not too far gone, there isn’t a more perfect time for this album to debut; at the brink of fall.