Greta Kline and her crew, from New York, are back with a fourth studio album as Frankie Cosmos. The sound and lyrical themes have really pushed on, with an apparently more collaborative spirit. On reading the track list there are a daunting 21 songs yet they’ve squeezed this into just 40 minutes.
With an average time of under two minutes, as has always been the case with Frankie Cosmos, the song writing is succinct.
There is no unnecessary fleshing out of ideas or repetition. “Moonsea” at just over two minutes packs in a lot of great ideas. A confident opener that kicks off with just Kline’s voice, quickly whips up a bouncy beat with some great sounding distorted Broadcast style keyboard touches before the song crashes and crescendos to an incredibly sweet melody. It’s the perfect introduction.
For the most part it’s packed with great melodies with sweet indie pop songs. There’s always something special in each song. “Cosmic Shop” features some great synth flourishes by Lauren Martin, first single “Windows” is classic indie pop with great drumming by Luke Pyenson, and twinkling 80s keys to accompany the 90s jangle.
“Even Though I Knew” is perhaps the highlight of the set.
There is a great vibrancy to it, fizzing and popping, sighing and fidgeting. There is huge rhythmic confidence throughout the record; “Rings (On A Tree) shuffles beautifully building, making space for wacky keyboard sounds, the band endulge in a grungey waltz on the fuzzed up “I’m It”, while “Never Would” is expansive and lurching with echoes of Lonesome Crowded West era Modest Mouse. The drums skitter and crash while the guitars create a wall of sound. “Acting Weird” plays in all directions around Alex Bailey’s constant bass pulse and “41st” shifts from upbeat to dreamy.
“So Blue” ramps up the fuzz with its Pavement-like guitars, it shares a lot in common with the excellent and recently departed UK band Doe, as does the softer “UFO” in its melodic approach.
There are very short songs that lay Kline’s voice bare – the short halfway marker “Self-Destruct” and a cappella “A Hit” in which Kline has just slight reverb for company. The vocal melodies in generally are gorgeous, at times Kline’s distinctive voice almost caws and cracks like Joanna Newsom or Scout Niblett, but there is a softer more rounded tone to Kline’s voice.
The stripped back “Marbles” has a melody to rival some of Stuart Murdoch’s most poignant moments, while “With Great Purpose” is Frankie Cosmos’s “Blackbird”, with its picked acoustic guitar and soft piano accompaniment.
“Last Season’s Textures” is quite stunning, fitting multiple sections into just over two minutes.
The melodies and gear changes are brilliant, with Pyenson’s virtuoso drumming again at centre stage, stalling the song dramatically with some particularly great triplets and driving it at others. It doesn’t ever feel like he is overplaying though.
Lyrically the album seems to deal in themes of failing relationships, loneliness, anxiety, coping with the modern world in a social bubble. The repeating motif of diamonds either being coughed up or “in your throat” is a particularly intriguing one.
They make time for one last upbeat indie pop song on “This Swirling” or so you think at first. The lyrics are sombre, in contrast to the music. The song then locks into a repetitive phrase with the lyrically playful but, again, sad “I will die trying, I will die crying, I will cry dying, I will try crying, I will cry trying” and fades out. You could say that Frankie Cosmos “close it quietly” (sorry not sorry).
‘Close It Quietly’ is a great end of summer record – one with plenty of depth that definitely bears up to repeat listening and is probably the strongest Frankie Cosmos record yet.
You may enjoy this if you like: Bearsuit, Broadcast, The Concretes, Doe, Belle and Sebastian, Joanna Newsom
‘Close It Quietly’ will be released on Friday 6th September via Sub Pop.