Frankie Rose The Shop @ Parts & Labour, Toronto ON May 3
Published May 03, 2012The Shop in the basement of Parts & Labour doesn't really have a stage and Frankie Rose isn't particularly tall. That combination led to plenty of tippy-toeing and leaning forward from the late-night crowd. An intimate, only vaguely creepy vibe ensued.
On dream-gaze record par excellence, Interstellar, Rose squeezes fresh life from the well-trodden push and pull between wistful contemplation and stargazing, draping each in sticky hooks. Thus, live leadoff "Mood in my Mind" blended echo-laden vocals and a plodding drum beat to create an appropriately claustrophobic atmosphere. On the other hand, tracks like "Gospel/Grace" and "Interstellar" looked skyward, the former using sci-fi synths and the latter fusing M83-style elation and Asobi Seksu-indebted dreaminess.
Known as a drummer as much as a songwriter, Rose's compositions prize the backbeat and that translated noticeably to the live show, especially "Know Me," which thrived thanks to her stickman's towering kick drum. Still, the gig wasn't all rousing hammering and ascending melodies. Like streaming a video on a shaky WiFi connection, the vocal mic occasionally faltered, abandoning Rose at inopportune times.
Luckily, all of that echo, near-constant backup vocals, her tight-as-Speedos band, and a bit of distortion largely filled in the gaps. Furthermore, Rose's pleasant patter -- temporary bout of baby talk aside -- and good-natured whiskey swigging helped move past rough patches. With ten quick tracks and a trip to the boy's bathroom, it was an economical, cozy and mostly engaging set.