Sunday, 20 August 2017

Frankie Rose 'Cage Tropical' (ALBUM REVIEW)

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In the case of singer songwriter Frankie Rose, the 18 fruitless months spent in LA trying in vain to piece together her fourth album, almost turning her back on music completely in the process, probably falls into this category...

Fortunately Rose’s change of heart has turned out to be everyone else’s gain. Decamping back to her adopted home in Brooklyn, ‘Cage Tropical’, released on Slumberland/Grey Market, slowly fell into place, recorded in fits and starts with the assistance of an assortment of fellow luminaries from the East Side music scene.

The startlingly assured finished work mixes ethereal 80s gothic indie and ornate bass arpeggios with shedloads of throwaway pop instrumentation, a sort of contemporary version of ‘Til Tuesday meets The Cure; perfectly illustrated by the soaring melodies of terrific opener ‘Love in Rockets’, oriental synth and understated jangly guitar vying with multi tracked vocal harmonies to thrilling effect.

Frankie’s vocal frequently gains a breathier tone firstly on ‘Dyson Sphere’ as well as sun-drenched title track ‘Cage Tropical’ together with ‘Red Museum’, whereas the driving beat of ‘Trouble’ really gets the feet tapping.

The former founder member of Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls , Vivian Girls and Beverly, can also do moody, particularly on album centrepiece ‘Dancing Down The Hall’, the eerie drone of a protracted synthesizer dominated introduction setting an unsettling tone of things to come, Frankie exercising her demons proclaiming ‘There’s a war within me’ ahead of a delightfully lush denouement.

The only track seemingly out of place is 95 second instrumental ‘Epic Slack’, the penultimate of ten songs contained within ‘Cage Tropical’. It doesn’t really add to the piece, the listener amply catered for with the rich tapestry of sound in the remaining nonet. For those in the mood for a bit of summery synth-pop to wring the most out of the tail end of the warm season, you could do a lot worse than this.

Words - Mike Price

Cage Tropical is out now on Slumberland/Grey Market

Live Dates:
Tuesday 17th October - The Joker, Brighton (tickets)
Wednesday 18th October - Moth Club, London (tickets)
Thursday 19th October - Castle. Manchester (tickets)
Friday 20th October - Sneaky Pete, Edinburgh (tickets)
Saturday 21st October - Kasbah, Coventry (tickets)
Sunday 22nd October - Bodega, Nottingham (tickets)
Tuesday 24th October - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (tickets)
Wednesday 25th October - The Forum, Tunbridge Wells (tickets)
Saturday 28th October - London Calling, Amsterdam (tickets)