Frankie Rose album review: ‘Herein Wild’

Josh Sisk/For The Washington Post - Frankie Rose from NYC performs a headlining set at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

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“Herein Wild”

Kindred spirits: DIIV, Beach House, Crystal Stilts

Show: With White Lies on Saturday at
the 9:30 Club. Doors open at 8 p.m.
202- 265-0930. $25.

Frankie Rose breaks little new ground on “Herein Wild,” her third solo release. But after her last album, the exceptional “Interstellar,” this is a good thing. Here, the same elements are in place: layered vocals, atmospheric guitar and pounding bass.

Before her solo career, Rose was a member of Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls. With each album, she moves further from these roots to a more melodic sound. Her vocal riffs on such songs as “Sorrow” and “Into Blue” are instantly catchy.

A Christian worshippers re-enacts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ along a street in Kenya's capital Nairobi April 18, 2014. This long standing tradition is celebrated by a large majority of Roman Catholic Christians from the Orthodox Church, along with Catholic believers. REUTERS/Noor Khamis (KENYA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION)

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Almost everything on the album is awash in reverb, which certainly adds to the ethereal element for which Rose aims, but it can be overbearing at times. This is a shame, because she has a great voice.

Rose’s vocals can best be described as timid yet expansive. She’s restrained in her delivery, but the reverb carries her voice past its natural end, allowing it to float over the instruments. This restraint is an effective foil to the driving, up-tempo bass lines reminiscent of such early New Wave bands as the Cure or Joy Division.

And Rose’s lyrics, although spare, complement the expansive feeling her voice evokes. She writes of loneliness manifested by restlessness, both physical and emotional, on such songs as “You for Me” (“Suddenly I’m free, the dark has become brighter, I am lighter”), “Minor Times” (“When a void runs an endless race / Paints the world as a feral place”), and “Street of Dreams” (“If you can’t sleep tonight and fever grips you tight / There’s a place we can explore, open wide the door”).

— Ben Opipari

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