Label: Memphis Industries Release date: 11/10/10 Link: Amazon Website: Myspace

It’s not often that drummers steal the show, but Frankie Rose is an exception. The transplanted Californian, who made her name as a former Vivian Girl and member of Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls, has been faithful to few bands for long in recent years. However, after casting off the shackles of her drumkit with the release of the eponymous Frankie Rose & The Outs, it all begins to make sense.

In many ways, the album isn’t uncharted territory for Rose: its still retro-pop and there’s the odd scuzzy garage band number in the form of ‘Girlfriend Island’, but it is obvious that Rose is moving away from her lo-fi roots towards something more original, while remaining steeped in the tradition of 1960s girl bands that informed her music with Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls.

The record is bookended by two melancholy songs. The first, ‘Hollow Life, is almost choir-like with its organ and slowly building harmonies that lapse into ‘Candy’, the kitschy zenith of Rose’s exploration of 1960s pop. With the third track, the Peanuts-referencing ‘Little Brown Haired Girls’, the tone again shifts to multi-textured string crescendos.

‘That’s What People Told Me’, which the band performed with aplomb at SXSW in March, ranks as an album highlight, showcasing angelic vocals cut with fuzzy, chaotic guitar. Squatting unassumingly in the middle of the record, ‘Must be Nice’ is an easy-going, indecently catchy pop track that turns psychedelic mid-way through.

Frankie Rose & The Outs is by no means pitch perfect: the 1.49 minutes of ‘You Can Make Me Feel Bad’ feel like unnecessary malingering before ‘Don’t Tred’, while the inclusion of Vivian Girls-esque ‘Girlfriend Island’ is an unwelcome reminder of past work.

All things considered, Rose’s debut stint as frontwoman makes effortless listening and transcends anything made with previous musical partners.

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