& the Outs,
Rose (Vivian Girls,
Dum Dum Girls)
steps out on her
own for this en-
chanting debut. I
was tempted to re-
fer to it as a solo
effort, except that isn't fair to band mates Margot Bianca, Kate
Ryan, and Caroline Yes! (the exclamation mark is intentional).
The appearance of this release on Slumberland (Henry's Dress,
Aisler's Set) gives some indication as to the contents, i.e. away
from her other groups, Rose chooses the quiet over the loud.
There's a little feedback here and there, but she appears to be
looking more to acts like Opal and Mazzy Star than the Shangri-
Las and Blondie for inspiration (her MySpace Page cites Julee
Cruise, Spacemen 3, the Cocteau Twins, and the Cramps).
If she couldn't sing, her efforts might be in vain, but Rose,
who prefers a whisper to a shout, can hold her own with
Kristin Gundred, aka Dee Dee (the Dum Dum Girls), and
the other vocalists with whom she's associated, and the
Outs back her up with heavenly, choir-like harmonies.
Naturally, her drumming propels the music forward, but per-
cussion takes a backseat to songcraft, resulting in a CD that
sounds good at first listen, but gets better with each spin.
"Must Be Nice," an instrumental, is downright transcendent
in the way that it seems to make time expand. Sometimes
pop is about catchy choruses, sometimes it's about a feeling
or a sensation. When an artist really feels what they're play-
ing, it's hard not to get swept up in that sonic embrace.
That's what's happening here, and it's also why I was disappointed
at first by the lack of obvious hooks. Rose opts for subtlety over
statement, which makes her album more of an experience--and a
pleasant one at that--than just another series of hummable songs.
Click here for "Little Brown Haired Girls" and here for "Candy."
Endnote: Click here for an interview with Frankie Rose in
The New York Press (I had no idea she was in Grass Widow)
and here for a live cover of Arthur Russell's "You Can Make
Me Feel Bad." For more information, head on over here.