Frankie Rose – 'Herein Wild' album review

Three years on from her breakout album, the Brooklyn singer struggles to balance the epic and the intimate

Frankie Rose is a bona fide indie-pop stalwart. You may know her from her days bashing the drums for various downbeat New York indie bands – Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls – or heading up Frankie Rose and The Outs. But it wasn’t until 2012 with ‘Interstellar’ – her first fully independent project as Frankie Rose – that she earned her solo stripes with rave reviews across the board. What it offered was a new, mumble-free sound that channelled soaring ’80s pop and allowed her crystalline voice to take centre stage.

The pressure of expectation weighs heavy on this follow-up. Rose seems to be caught in a confused hinterland, torn between a failsafe formula and a desire for innovation. She has brought in strings to add extra nuance, and at points this is successful - ‘Sorrow’s violin punctuations add a lush, filmic feel, and on ‘Cliffs as High’ the teaming of strings and piano allows for unashamed lashings of Kate Bush melodrama.

The main discord lies in Rose’s seeming desire to maintain these more epic sounds whilst also making space for something smaller and more intimate. For all her efforts, the result is somewhat lacking in conviction – especially when set against her last album. If only Rose hadn’t made ‘Interstellar’ so damn good…
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