Frankie Rose is an artist constantly on the move. Since the mid-noughties, Rose has been rather prolific, serving as a founding member of noise pop outfits Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, and Crystal Stilts, all before going solo with 2010’s Frankie Rose and the Outs, ditching the lo-fi sound of her previous bands in favor of a reverbed take on the harmony-laden 60’s AM pop sound. Two years later, Rose returns, sans her touring band the Outs, with Interstellar.
On Interstellar, Rose has shed the 60’s girl group meets shoegaze sound of the first disc, and those garage punk roots are a distant memory. This time around, Rose’s retro stylings have jumped ahead a couple of decades to the 80’s, specifically the C86 era. Interstellar opens with a celestial wash of analog synth and ghostly vocals before the hyperdrive is suddenly activated, thunderous drums sending the song soaring through space at breakneck speed. Yes, Frankie Rose still brings the rock even when dabbling in dream pop.
The grandiosity of the title track is never quite matched on the rest of the album, but what follows are some highly infectious pieces of jangle pop. Interstellar is at its best when Rose throws some other 80’s influences into the mix, such as on the Joy Division-channeling body mover “Night Swim”, which is post-punk darkness at its grooviest paired with jubilant, dreamy vocals. “Daylight Sky” takes the most mournful of new wave synth textures and pairs it with Rose’s immaculate, waif-like vocal coos.
Interstellar may not bring something wholly original or novel to the already crowded scene of like-minded, nostalgic, ethereal pop acts, but its 32 minutes are simply too sublimely crafted to ignore.
Essential Tracks: “Interstellar”, “Night Swim”