FRANKIE ROSE is best known for her drumming exploits with such revered bands as Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts. However, now that she’s extricated herself from the drum kit, and taken a few steps forward on the stage to front her new all-girl band THE OUTS, you can expect that burgeoning reputation to be further enhanced.
For the most part, the band’s eponymous debut leans heavily on the reverb sound favoured by Frankie. And on first listen, I have to confess that it became a bit tedious towards the end of the album. However, a couple of plays later and I really did start to ‘get it.’ So what I’m saying is: don’t be too quick to judge this album – patience is rewarded.
In general, the eleven tracks (twenty nine and a half minutes) sway between sun-drenched pop and dark surf. There is a distinct Sixties feel about many of the songs with lush, Beach Boys harmonies wrapped up Spector-esque reverb and production. In fact, the reverb reaches a level where it almost creates a heavy mist over the core sound, much in same way as The Cocteau Twins did. And of course, like with the previous bands she played with, Jesus and Mary Chain also seem to have touch of influence.
So overall, it’s quite an eclectic concoction of styles that go into the mix for this album. But like any good chef will tell you, it’s not purely the ingredients that make a good dish – it’s how they are combined and measurements that count. And thankfully FRANKIE ROSE AND THE OUTS seem to have that all mastered.
The album opens slowly with ‘Hollow Life’ and its almost ecclesiastical sounding organ and quiet harmonies, whereas the following ‘Candy’ kicks off the Sixties girl-group feel. ‘Little Brown Haired Girls’ has a lovely relaxed, but gently bouncing feel to it. It’s not so overtly ‘Sixties’ as its predecessor, with the shimmering guitar and distant sounding harmonies giving it more of a modern day ‘shoe gaze’ style. One of the best, I would suggest.
‘Lullabye For Roads & Miles’ is more melancholy in nature, soft and dreamy, as the name would suggest. ‘That’s What People Told Me’ picks up the pace and for the first time we hear the scuzzy, fuzzy guitar and darker twangs play alongside an incessant, pounding drumbeat. Personally, I would have placed this track after the next one, ‘Memo’, which drops the intensity level again. Nice and soothing as it is, it sort of breaks the increased rhythm of the album as the next again song, ‘Must Be Nice’ contains some of the elements of ‘That’s What People Told Me.’ Indeed, although there is still that Sixties feel, there are little Cramps-like guitar diversions with an added stomp to the proceedings.
With the racing beat of ‘Girlfriend Island’ preceding the Jesus and Mary Chain inspired ‘You Can Make Me Feel Bad’ it almost seem s as if the band were restrained on a short leash for the first half of the album, only to be released after the sixth number! As if confirmation were needed, ‘Don’t Tred’ has that dark surf, threatening and rumbling guitar riff running through it, before the album closes with ‘Save Me.’ and its Phil Spector styled beat and twinkling guitar.
It may not be the most ‘instant’ album you’ll hear this year, but this is music built to last. Nice!
(Released through Memphis Industries on 11th October 2010)