Boomkat Product Review:
Debut album from Vivian Girls/Dum Dum Girls' Frankie Rose and Running's Matthew Hord - a low-key synthpop marvel, finding a slippery mid-point between Cocteau Twins' dreamy melancholy and The Cure's flickering gothic glow. RIYL Chromatics, Nite Jewel, Junior Boys.
Rose and Hord's concept for Fine Place was simple; they both wanted to capture the feeling of New York City after its wealthy residents had fled during the COVID-19 outbreak. Serene but uncertain, the duo channeled their restless energy into a suite of songs that are nostalgic, melancholy, but also magical, a glass slippered step removed from the real world.
Opener 'I Can't Shake It' is almost completely electronic, with Rose's vocals reduced to a faint echo over blips and choppy beatbox drums from Hord. It suggests dystopia without claiming one style or another, before the album swerves into a different direction with 'This New Heaven', leaning into The Cure's over-arching influence and centering delayed guitars and reverb-drenched vox.
On 'Tending To Twenty', the pair hit their stride, referencing the bubbly optimism of early Detroit and bleep techno modes, using Rose's voice as a choral texture. Album standout 'It's Your House' lurches through territory marked out by Johnny Jewel's Italians Do It Better imprint but stamped with a disaffected malaise. A sweet synth arpeggio features in place of drums, reminding us of Nite Jewel's excellent "No Sun" album from earlier this year, reflecting loss and precariousness through a tarnished neon prism.
Really good this.