Frankie Rose – Herein Wild
By and large, I’m not a fan of the current music era and the sound of default independent music. It’s become too safe; everything soaked with reverb and buried under a horde of keyboards, and heaven forbid if there isn’t a faint beat underneath it to give the kids something to dance to. That’s not likely to change until the next big indie masterpiece comes along and changes the way albums are made and sound.
Of course, there are plenty of people who are overjoyed by the current musical climate. Because of this, albums are crafted to cater to that audience, and a lot of great music has been ruined in a desperate attempt to fit in. Herein Wild is just the latest example.
Frankie Rose is a great songwriter, her voice is sugary-sweet enough to get lodged in your brain, and as the liner notes make clear, she’s also incredibly talented (Rose handled co-production, playing and wrote everything save for a cover of the Damned’s ‘Street Of Dreams’). But the way she has delivered these tracks has been played out for years, and it will likely be forgotten under the incredible groundswell of artists churning out this stuff as well. They can’t do any better. Rose can.
If the production choice had worked to accommodate the songs, then it would be easier to understand why Rose made the album this way. Unfortunately, only the single ‘Sorrow’ benefits. The track sounds like a mix of Cocteau Twins, Heavenly, Dolly Mixture, Tallulah Gosh, basically anyone from the Sarah Records stable. Here, the heavy reverb and distant guitar help to serve the impossibly catchy melody, and it’s the only complete success to be heard on the album. Aside from that and the coda to ‘Street Of Dreams’ which recalls, of all things, Boards Of Canada’s brilliant Music Has The Right To People, Herein Wild contains a batch of potentially great songs that should have been recorded very differently.
There are two instances that make this point explicit. Opener ‘You For Me’ is a should-be shoegaze rave-up, but because of the album’s in-vogue production, its potential is stifled. The reverb smoothing out the edge the track needs. And the lead in up-tempo drum beat of “Heaven”, matched with the guitar part sounding like a siren announces a thrilling song that gets stopped in its tracks as soon as the indifferent two part harmony starts 24 seconds in.
So if you think the current musical trends are the greatest the world has ever seen, pick up Herein Wild. It might just become your new favourite album. If not, join the rest of us in waiting for something better to come along.