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Frankie Rose Offshoot Beverly Work Out Shimmering Dream-Pop on ‘Careers’

SPIN Rating: 7 of 10
Release Date: July 01, 2014
Label: Kanine

Sometimes a song is so good it becomes a crazed obsession. Example: The nearly-perfect “All the Things,” from the debut outing by Brooklyn’s Beverly, a joint venture of gal-pals Drew Citron and Frankie Rose. This head-spinning swirl of bright, spiky guitar, cracking beats and heavenly vocals produces a dizzying rush of pure-pop pleasure, the kind that makes you want to hit repeat over and over until your brain starts to melt.

A more sensible course of action would be to check out some of the group’s other, almost as fine, songs. Careers harks back less than a decade to a bunch of exciting noise-friendly bands led by women, many of whom have moved on to other styles or situations. Vivian Girls broke up, and Dum Dum Girls morphed into a slicker Pretenders update. Rose, the one-time drummer for both groups, went solo and eventually traded her scruffy lo-fi attack for a smoother, techno-flavored approach.

Careers could be the outcome of a mentoring project. Citron, a veteran of Rose’s touring band, plays most of the instruments, while the more experienced Rose provides drums and harmonies (and presumably advice), with utterly satisfying results. “Madora” evokes that Pixies-Breeders dynamic of big, dramatic chords and intimate singing, and the sweetly soaring “Honey Do” achieves a cathedral-like grandeur, cleverly replicating Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound with deceptively simple production. Citron has a deft way with a twangy surf-guitar lick, but makes a cool racket too. The frantic though oddly static instrumental “Ambular” suggests an angry buzzing bee, going nowhere in electrifying fashion.

While the album’s sparse lyrics often feel like short cuts to another gorgeous chorus, the hushed “Yale’s Life” eloquently remembers, “Empty stares/ Not like when we first met/ When it was you and I/ Pressed up against the wall.” Elsewhere, “You Can’t Get It Right” shifts into overdrive for a tart putdown, exclaiming, “If there’s a next time you’ll know the/ Perfect time to leave.”

Careers gives Frankie Rose a chance to show off her impressive skills as a drummer, which she hasn’t done much lately. From “Planet Birthday” to “Out on a Ride,” her surehanded battering guarantees the perfect balance of grit and sparkle, affirming the messy emotions beneath the pretty surfaces.

Apparently Citron is ready to leave the nest. When Beverly performs live she’ll work with other players and Rose will be elsewhere, focusing on her solo music. That’s too bad, as Careers makes a great argument for teamwork.