Frankie Cosmos: Close It Quietly (Sub Pop) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 27th, 2020  

Frankie Cosmos

Close It Quietly

Sub Pop

Sep 30, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


To listen to Frankie Cosmos is to step straight into singer/songwriter Greta Kline's diary. The soft inclines of Kline's vocals and her gently jangling indie-pop riffs draw you calmly under the covers into an introspective land of scribbled poetic musings. The joy? That her ardently subjective lyrics frequently give way to creeping moments of universality.

On Close It Quietly, Frankie Cosmos' fourth studio album, musically it's basically business as usual. Kline's still drawing from the same bedroom-Bandcamp well she has on each of her studio releases (and the 40+ records she pumped out online between 2009-2013), but everything feels refined. The edges are still charmingly scuffed, but there's a second nature confidence that belies Kline's youth.

Like on their last record, Vessel, the instrumentation is fuller and more rounded than on Kline's earlier DIY efforts, thanks to increased involvement by the rest of the band (keyboardist Lauren Martin, drummer Luke Pyenson, and bassist Alex Bailey), even as Kline's confessions are still the star attraction. Delivered in her butter-wouldn't-melt lilt, she exorcises fragile heartbreak, insecurity, and sincere breakthroughs. Needless to say, her opening declaration that "The world is crumbling and/I don't have much to say" is a long way from the truth.

Kline isn't just self-effacing though—she's a witty deconstructor of her most pitiable relationship doubts. In an unjoined pair of thoughts, she finds sex, power, and loneliness hopelessly entwined. On "Moonsea" she muses aloud "Cause I'm the moon and you are the sea/You always seem sad underneath me," whilst on "Cosmic Shop" she admits "Rivers fill the sewers underneath you/I wanna be beneath you too."

In each instance she presents a knowingly trite metaphor, before pulling the carpet back. Her framing of sex as an experience defined by the topsy-turvy nature of who's above and who's below is a simple one, but quite telling of how she's been shaped by her experiences. Later on "Rings (On a Tree)" Kline further considers "Now I see that I was always me/Underneath everything I ever tried to be," turning that same consideration of sexual dynamics onto her own internally constructed hall of mirrors.

With each pithy explication of a fragile moment, Kline provides a visceral sensation beyond humor and beyond empathy. In many ways, Kline's emotive indie pop is really just punk. Each of the 21 tracks on Close It Quietly clock in at two minutes or under, the musical tone is consistent, but enveloping, and Kline's stream-of-consciousness outpourings are as transgressive as any squawked political missive.

Through all of this, that autobiographical mystery carries the album through its occasionally repetitive melodies, resulting in a compellingly personal oral history. On the winkingly titled "41st," when Kline asks "Does anyone wanna hear the 40 songs I wrote this year?" it's her poignant and laconic lyricism that makes it easy to respond to her rhetorical existentialism with a hearty yes. (www.frankiecosmosband.com

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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