Having taken four years between records – the longest gap of a career that has seen varying degrees of flirtation with groups like Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls – it is somewhat surprising to hear that Frankie Rose hasn’t strayed a whole lot from the dreamy indie pop that made her input so a sought after in her Brooklyn homeland.

But there has always been a juxtaposition, some might say an awkward one, between Rose’s work with other acts (take the sunny slice of garage rock that was the debut Dum Dum Girls record in 2010) and her own solo projects, first under the Frankie Rose and the Outs moniker and now simply under her own umbrella.

In a world where literally everyone from St. Vincent to Lorde is produced by Jack Antonoff of Bleachers and fun. notoriety, it’s easy to argue that the overly and overtly romantacised throwbacks to Reagan-era dream pop are passé. Fortunately Cage Tropical does enough to not sound like it’s desperately attempting to be the soundtrack for whatever film is trying to be this year’s Drive, and instead builds on the successes of 2012’s stellar Interstellar and the relative disappointment of 2013’s Herein Wild to sidestep the mold of the current crop of synth-laden boilerplate indie pop.

Rather than overexposing itself to the synthetic glow of 2017’s pop time machine, Cage Tropical has a modest and understatedly confident sensibility about it to the point where the ‘nostalgia’ factor doesn’t come into consideration. The first line of album opener, ‘Love In Rockets’, sets out both the dreamy tone of the record and the sorrow to go with it (along with a bit of wordplay that did admittedly raise a smirk on subsequent listens); “lie down/ resting my head like a wilting flower.” The track, and album, goes on to paint Rose as an artist at odds with herself, her apparent partner and the world at large, in a constant state of loss, of falling, of isolation, wanting to run and look for something to “make it go away.”

This is an album that despite the way it sounds has much more dark sadness in it than sunny frivolity. Underneath the Cocteau Twins-inspired guitars and Joy Division-esque bass riffs, Rose’s hushed, reverberating, yet charismatic vocals deliver the singer’s millennial manifesto: I am disconnected from the world, I don’t know what the hell is going on and I want out.

“Everything you know is a lie” starts the album’s second single ‘Red Museum’ (on which Rose’s vocals sound like some of the softer parts of Grimes’ Art Angels), and that reinforces the confusion at the heart of the album. Whether it be in love, in life or somewhere in between, the only certainty lies in uncertainty.

Ultimately, despite its broodier and moodier efforts, Cage Tropical never really hits the heights of Interstellar. However, Rose continues to prove that she doesn’t need to dive into anything so sophisticated as Greek mythology or abstract philosophy to communicate her emotions. Human relations, and reliance on other people, while sitting contradictorily in isolation, are the lock and key to Cage Tropical.