>> Cage Tropical, the latest drop from Frankie Rose of Orange County California, is a sweet blend of blissful vocals, space and a wholesome use of synth. This full length is retro, clean and all-encompassing in terms of the mood a listener should be in to appreciate it.
The bottom end of this album dances and plays like a self-sustaining entity as if to cater to the whimsical guitar progressions and smooth vocals above it. The bass lines are each unique and ever-changing; there is never an instance of predictability or boring patterns in any of the ten tracks on the low end.
It’s trim. There is a unique sense of fullness throughout the record without completely overdoing the amount of layering in the mix. A few simple vocal tracks, one to two guitar parts, synthesizer, bass, and drums are all that can be heard in each track. Each of these elements were used to their fullest potential.
The drums are simple. When the vocal content and melodic instrument parts for any given song are abstract and spacey, it pays to have a simple rock drum beat keeping things together. This concept is a trivial and widely used formulaic approach to achieving a popular sound, but it works. Hearing a heady snare on a consistent beat in each progression is good for the sanity of the piece.
The mix for each track is more or less identical. Consistency is always desirable for any given album, but it felt as though the people in the booth barely changed any EQ dials between tracks.
It’s not easy to cater to a variety of niche groups of music tastes in today’s world. This album reeks of singer-songwriter, is saturated with throwback instrumentals and brings everything home with sustained synthesizer and middle-heavy vocals. It’s a bastard-child of 80s pop, rock, folk, and spacey jams but it is not an ugly duckling of 2017. 4.2/5 <<