If you're familiar with Brooklyn's Frankie Rose at all, it's most likely through her work as a drummer for hazy pop bands Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and Dum Dum Girls, where she most often kept a workmanlike, metronomic rhythm. She stepped out front-and-centre with 2010's Frankie Rose & The Outs, where she unveiled a soft and melodious voice buried in the same clouds of reverb as the vocalists of her other projects. Moving from Memphis Industries to indie-pop institution Slumberland, Interstellar sees Rose drop the band credit from her name and release a second album of—surprise!—tasteful dream pop.
The dominant texture on Interstellar is silk, whether it's in washing synths or heavily manipulated caresses of guitar. Take "Know Me," where layers upon layers of Roses sing on top of guitars and a wheezing synth that sounds lifted right out of My Bloody Valentine's "Touched." It sounds organic but feels otherworldly and ethereal, a crucial balance on Interstellar that keeps the music grounded in relatable reality even at its floatiest.
As modern and hi-fidelity (compared to previous outings) as it sounds, Interstellar admittedly carries the weight of decades of precedent: it's on Slumberland for a reason. It owes as much to the label's classic roster as it does more recent members like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, but the sinewy rhythmic foundations are the furthest thing from twee: "Night Swim" starts with a primitive pounding and a riff stolen right out of Unknown Pleasures, and the Byrds jangle of "Gospel / Grace" is blown up to appropriately basilical proportions. You can tell this is a drummer's album: the skins hold down the songs even more overtly then they did in the morbid motorik of Crystal Stilts. It's the beating heart of moody stunners like "Moon in My Mind."
As much as the rhythms might hold the songs together, Interstellar's most promising moment is actually the one with almost no percussion: "Pair of Wings" features Rose's most affecting vocal—positively slathered with honey and sugar and all those other nice things—repeating a mantra over a slowly blooming backdrop of into brass, a choir and a thumping timpani. There's nothing subtle or precocious about it, the sound of Rose replacing her hazy tunnel-pop with Disney-level bombast. That's not a bad metaphor for what she does with Interstellar itself. It's not about to break any new ground, but her attractively elegant mixture of dream pop, post-punk and luxurious atmospherics are a hard combination to resist.
Tracklist: Frankie Rose - Interstellar01. Interstellar
02. Know Me
04. Daylight Sky
05. Pair Of Wings
06. Had We Had It
07. Night Swim
08. Apples For The Sun
09. Moon In My Mind
10. The Fall