Saturday 25 September 2010

Frankie Attempts To Rise Above...With A Lil Help From Her Outed Friends

I started writing a series of posts a few weeks back that were somewhat tarred with the angry rant brush. I felt I hadn't gone on a decent rant for some time, and my sniper sights were far-reaching. Paul managed to pull my head in, and whilst my temper still bubbles, I have put my energies elsewhere - like making curries. (I made a great jalfrezi from scratch, plus a yellow Thai curry which is making me salivate just thinking of it. A rant is good for the soul though, and one will be forthcoming in due course).

The first post 'that never was' was related to my pet peeve of the past year - well, one of, I have loads - which is the glut of girl or girl-fronted bands. Without sounding casually sexist, I feel that all of these acts reaching deep down to realise their inner MOR Shangri-La/Joan Jett amidst their tatted torsos and icy faux-disinterested stances but are strangling each other, and have been doing so ever since the Vivian Girls made their (admittedly good) take at it on their self-titled debut back in 2008. And whilst I feel that other suddenly 'in' genres of sound have suffered a similar overcrowding a la the parks on a sunny day in October, its the girls that have taken the biggest 'meh' pill. The Girls At Dawn, Dum Dum Girls, All Saints Day, Procedure Club, The Babies - I could go on - all have at least one or two great songs in them, but the overall package comes more like when you buy an expensive gift for a child and they only play with the box. It just comes away all superfluous, hollow, and lazy.

But there is always a silver lining. Paul has championed Grass Widow in the past, and soon we will witness them live to see if they live up to their LP Past Time's promise - but we also have Frankie Rose. Frankie Rose and the Outs, to be fully honest. Now Frankie Rose is not exempt from the tarred brush of her own genre either, being as she is the past skinsmith of bands such as Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls. However it appears that she may have learnt from her past digressions (and once again Im looking at you, Dum Dum Girls...) Whilst the distinctive attractive indie looks are very much in evidence, Frankie and her Outs dont rest on their fashion sense and record collection, instead infusing a good sense of humour and humility into tracks such as the pop gem 'Candy' and the darker buzz of 'Little Brown Haired Girls'.

The debut self-titled LP is out through Slumberland Records, and it will be interesting to see if the rest of the album lives up to the samples we have gotten so far. And whilst I must admit that much of this sound is at the least passable on record - Dum Dum Girls' I Will Be denotes a level of cool attitude that doesnt translate in the live arena - Im holding high hopes for Frankie Rose, that she may prove to be a shining light to her sisters-in-arms. After all, if Best Coast can sugarcoat the garage pop to an inch of its life then sprinkle it with shavings of marijuana, and the Raveonettes can swing like a pendulum from dark noir pop to sunny Pretty-In-Pink soda pop with cool abandon, why cant this genre find more women able to get out of their hipster hovels and brand their own individuality on their musical tropes?


  1. Anonymous25/9/10 17:30

    OKAY, this reviewer is a complete idiot and i'm sorry to point this out here. but to link all these "meh" bands together into one lump without (i'm definitely sure of this!) listening to all of them and just deciding that they must be similar-- this reviewer has no right to comment on anything. ESPECIALLY when this ...meh... "reviewer" is going to point out how good-looking Frankie Rose is as a preface. right there, i don't believe anything you have to say. nice try, once again, to pretend you listened to other records and hold an objective opinion. thanks for talking about female-fronted bands when all you're doing is proving that you are isolated by your bias--you prove your own inability to be objective and betray yourself.

  2. Anonymous25/9/10 18:00

    By lumping together girl-fronted bands, you take away from the real point: that it's not a big deal anymore to be a girl in a band.

  3. Anonymous26/9/10 03:58

    it's also "lazy" writing to choose this as a topic--stop creating politics in music just to try to fill up the lack of substance when you've got nothing to say. it's too easy and repetitive, so don't criticize it in music if you're going to do in in the world wide interweb.

  4. I think a little clarification is in order. I understand where you are coming from. However, I was never intending to claim that all girl or girl-fronted bands were superfluous at all, but this particular style. The wave of bands that have drenched their music in 60s girl group via Spector echo along with a liberal dose of punk is what I was saying is becoming throwaway, and I stick steadfastly to that sentiment. Its not the gender, it’s the genre. It is a genre that I feel is already growing tired. I also didn’t mean to offend anyone who felt that I was lumping bands together. These bands have been mentioned because after listening to their albums I felt that they are not adding anything new to the genre, or even stamping their own individuality on their sound. As I stated in the article, I still hold high hopes that acts like Frankie Rose and the Outs will inject something new. Thanks for your comments.

  5. I'm in Procedure Club, and I had no idea that we sounded like a 60s girl group, but that's what I keep hearing. I did not know we were writing for a genre; we couldn't avoid doing that if we tried. I guess we can't help the popular marketing buzz words of our time, though.