Something of a Brooklyn indie scene veteran for her spells in Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls and Beverley – as well as fronting Frankie Rose and the Outs – the singer-drummer-multi-instrumentalist found herself on her uppers, working on a catering truck. She’s therefore thrown everything into what could be a make-or-break fourth solo album. With its shimmering guitars, ethereal voices, delicate percussion patterns and catchy synth hooks, Cage Tropical is a poppier version of dreampop/shoegaze: the Cocteau Twins and Lush meet Bananarama. Several lyrics (“a wheel of wasting my life”, “Days are long when you live without the sun” …) allude to darker times, although the general feel is upbeat. Art Bell, Game to Play and Dyson Sphere – the post-punk-era Cure bathing in Turkish delight – have particularly euphoric choruses. It’s all lovely, although some songs drift into pretty but insubstantial washes of sound, so the album may not quite pack the punch needed to change her fortunes.
Frankie Rose: Cage Tropical review – upbeat shoegaze from indie stalwart
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author