Frankie Rose and the Outs / Little Girls The Shop @ Parts & Labour, Toronto ON January 12
Published Jan 14, 2011Frankie Rose has an impressive pedigree behind her, having played with Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stills and, perhaps most notably, as one of the founding members of Vivian Girls -- each band a different slice of NYC's fuzzy garage pop pie. Rose's self-titled solo debut follows a similar path, albeit with a greater emphasis on streamlined melody and dream pop ambience. It's a quiet, pretty record, perfect for warming up a harsh winter's night.
Pulling off the lullaby-like tunes in a live setting seems challenging, however, especially in an often rowdy basement venue like the Shop, but Rose and her recruits pulled off the stripped-down songs nicely. The band's recorded works hinge on the effectiveness of the female-harmony vocals, which can be awfully tricky to pull off convincingly live. Refreshingly, the band seemed polished and at ease vocally. Rose came totting a soulful aplomb and a hint of twang, particularly on the more raucous numbers like cult hit "Candy," resembling the love child of Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee.
While the group plied their trade well, they also seemed a bit static. A few more road miles, dive bars and slogs through an unforgiving winter will hopefully loosen them up a bit. That said, the new numbers revealed more of the strong songcraft and tangible hooks hinted at on the debut, which bodes well for the future of this young and rapidly evolving band.
Openers Little Girls, on the other hand, seemed to be devolving. Stuck in a recycled post-punk time warp, they seemed conspicuously out of place and were met by a less than charitable reaction from the crowd, making even a polite applause hard to come by.