Frankie Rose gets lost in LA but finds herself again in Brooklyn on Cage Tropical.Slumberland / Grey Market, 2017
6.2 / 10
Frankie Rose‘s fourth album, Cage Tropical arrives after a tumultuous time in Rose’s life. One where she almost quit the music business altogether. This meant a fate of living in Los Angeles with barely any money and working on a catering truck. Thankfully, she pushed herself past the drama she was dealing with to do what she loves to do. And we get Cage Tropical, an album that not only draws inspiration from this difficult period but also Frankie’s love of sci-fi and the paranormal. Apparently, she listened to a lot of Art Bell during her off time. And I’m going to complain (I’m a fan of all things creepy). But for all that she talks it up in the album’s press, it never gets exactly dark or eerie. Rather, she maintains her MO of dream pop that she’s given us so many times already.
For many listeners, that will be enough. Rose has a knack for dreamy, synth-music that feels both sensual and mysterious. Many other musicians do it, but some don’t do it as well as her. Then, there are some who do it much better *cough* Beach House *cough*. However, Rose does also set herself from the pack by keeping a quicker pace. Her songs rarely ever come to a crawl or feel as if they’re lulling listeners to sleep. “Trouble” is a great example; thumping along at fast speed as Rose proclaims, “Trouble follows you/ If you run/ No matter where.” This song alludes to Rose’s return to her musical haven of Brooklyn from Los Angeles. However, she’s obviously tackling her problems head on now since she’s recording again.
And it sounds like she made the right decision. On the album’s title track, she sings, “You’re on your own again,” with her voice soaring high as this great relief seems to wash over her. It’s nice to hear Frankie find her groove again, but Cage Tropical is unfortunately short on many memorable songs. Perhaps most memorable is “Dancing Down The Hall”, where she warns a lover, “Never speak her name/ Live to see another day.” The slow-burning melody gives Frankie a somewhat icy, venomous tone. It’s one this album could use more of.