Three albums of shimmering, synth-driven vocals later, and Frankie Rose (of
Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, and Beverly) has produced her most
refined album yet. What sets this album apart from her others is the sureness she has created for her style. Interstellar, released in 2012, showed the world her unique voice and affinity for sci-fi and synths. Herein Wild followed two years later from Fat Possum records, further enhancing her vocals, pairing them with driven guitar lines. Now Cage Tropical showcases the best of both of these albums by polishing the instrumentals and raising the vocal clarity. It’s as if she’s tore down her style and built it from the bottom up, fine-tuning the foundation and growing from there. But this rebirth has a back-story.
Before recording the album, Frankie Rose, long a staple in the Brooklyn music scene,
moved to Los Angeles for a period of 18 months. Due to unfortunate circumstances,
Frankie fell briefly off the music track, spending a stint working in a catering truck. “I was like, how can this be my life after being a touring musician and living off of music? I had really lost my way and I thought I was totally done,” Frankie says via a press release. “But out of it all, I just decided to keep making music, because it is what I love and what I do – regardless of the outcome.”
She returned to Brooklyn, working with no budget and seeking out collaborations to help her experiment musically, but even with these experimentations, her newest album remains true to her and true to her style. Cage Tropical contains all of the refined maturity that comes from a fourth solo album. It allows the vocals to travel around on their meandering paths, returning to form a cohesive sound. On the opening track ‘Love in Rockets’, she belts out her best Liz Frazer sugar hiccup with the reflective line “a wheel, a wheel of wasting my life: a wheel, a wheel of wasting my time.” Third track ‘Trouble’ is the soundtrack to her escape from vast Los Angeles, running with her synths all the way back to Brooklyn. ‘Red Museum’ is the feeling of being lost in a city you know is no longer your home. The full album is the story of her journey, one of reclaiming her identity within music. “Misery turned into something good,” she reflects. “The whole record to me is a redemption record and it is the most positive one I’ve made.”
Live: Moth Club – 18th October