Songwriter Frankie Rose inhabits a sublime realm. She formerly purveyed her talents as a founding member of the Vivian Girls, in Crystal Stilts and as a sometimes-Dum Dum Girl, and those were all perfectly respectable gigs. But Rose’s expansive artistic vision has flourished in exclusivity, on 2012’s Interstellar and now Herein Wild. From the album opener, pitch-shifted torch song “You For Me,” through the Damned cover “Street of Dreams,” Rose swirls spookasem pop with classical strings and china crash cymbals, maintaining jagged harmony throughout. Finale “Requiem” finds Rose’s dulcet vox matched by lonely trumpet. Standout tracks include Cocteau Twins-meets-Stereolab stunner “Minor Times” and dense drum-guitar anthem “Heaven.”
Don’t expect people to know how to dance to this. Cavernous organs frolick with bleeps, sparkling echo, haunted static and aggressive MIDI sampling on Oneohtrix Point Never’s latest. OPN, the aural alter of Daniel Lopatin, and his major label debut R Plus Seven aren’t so-called acquired sonic tastes. With the possible exception of dancefloor-adjacent “Zebra,” these aren’t club bangers. If an absence of compositional linearity discomfits you, these probably aren’t your jams. For the rest of us, tracks like MIDI children’s choir-anchored number “Chrome Country” and synth run-littered minimalist incantation “Boring Angel” should be gobbled up with Leopold Bloom-esque relish.
The reason Crystal Stilts chose to open this album with charmingly lackluster, reverb-sweating “Spirit in Front of Me” rather than libidinously poppy “Star Crawl” is a mystery. Swamp rock-inflected “Future Folklore” and “Sticks and Stones” lull us into a warranted sense of psych rock security. “Phases Forever” ventures into somber, theatrical delivery, and there are many serviceable tracks here—the above-referenced tracks, especially oxytocin-rich slow-burner “Star Crawl,” are all examples—but the edge just isn’t there. It just isn’t. But there’s always a next time with an outfit like this. I’ll keep “Star Crawl” in my pocket as I patiently await that release.
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