Monday, 25 October 2010

Frankie Rose And The Outs - Frankie Rose And The Outs (Memphis Industries)

It's getting to that time of year now where going outside takes real sartorial forethought and it's dark by the time Neighbours has finished. Luckily, Frankie Rose And The Outs have just brought out an album that sounds like summer, with sixties girl-group vocals and Beach Boys guitar riffs funnelled through a pervasive reverb effect that mimics the feeling of intoxication. However, while there is a certain warmth to be shared in the band's affectionate recreation of that twee rock 'n' roll sound, the album is altogether a rather melancholy work.

Okay, that's not entirely true. Maybe it's the fact that the album is bookended by two tracks with a distinctly sombre feel, starting with the quivering church-organ sound of Hollow Life and playing out with the hymnal refrain and hypnotic drumming of Save Me. Such a circular arrangement makes it easy to overlook the upbeat hooks of tracks like Candy and That's What People Told Me, or the first thirty second of Don't Tred, which is deliciously authentic-sounding garage-punk.

Unfortunately though, it's not just their ranking in the track listing that makes these songs forgettable. More often than not, the songs here are lacking most keenly lengthwise. It's not only the case for the aforementioned livelier tracks: the gorgeous, bitter-sweet harmonies on Lullabies For Roads & Miles and on Arthur Russel cover You Can Make Me Feel Bad flaunt such potential but flounder then fizzle out without any real progression. With the majority of the songs clocking in at barely more than two minutes long, the melodies are rarely even afforded a bridge before being cut woefully short. Maybe this was this idea, but to me it seems that such editing does this album a great injustice.

Frankie Rose And The Outs have succeeded in creating an album that is affecting and emotive: occasionally insouciant, but more often solemn and almost ethereal. However, this reviewer will anticipate a follow-up in which their already-evident song-writing ability is given the space to more fully develop.

Words : Tegan Rogers

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