What can we glean from Frankie Rose’s career thus far? As a former member of punk-hearted, ’60s-indebted girl groupers the Vivian Girls; The Dum Dum Girls, who sultrified a similar sound; and surf-toned garage rockers Crystal Stilts, it’s safe to assume she likes harmonies, the ’60s and reverb-laden guitars. All of which she utilised to lovely effect on her debut solo record, 2010’s Frankie Rose and the Outs.
But now the Brooklyn-based artist has ditched the Outs and composed a delicate constellation of songs embracing whimsical Cure-like basslines, Echo and the Bunnymen guitars (circa ‘The Killing Moon’) and diaphanous, multi-tracked harmonies. They shine through particularly on the haunting ‘Night Swim’, where Rose comes off like a modern Stevie Nicks backed by Warpaint. Other triumphant moments include the gossamer pop of ‘We Had It’, ‘Gospel Grace’ (suggesting an all-girl Fleet Foxes brought up on New Order) and ‘Daylight Sky’, which conjures up images of ‘Sixteen Candles’-era Molly Ringwald pining for Jake Ryan. Adrift on her own, this is far and away Rose’s best work.