Frankie Cosmos grows with ‘Close it Quietly’

New album expands their scope, yet stays true to form

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Frankie Cosmos performs in April 2019. 

Courtesy DONOSTIA KULTURA

Frankie Cosmos, the indie rock band headed by Greta Kline, released their fourth album, “Close it Quietly,” Friday. The album was produced by Sub Pop Records in Brooklyn. Initially using the moniker Ingrid Superstar, Manhattan native Kline began recording music in 2009 in her room, uploading her work to Bandcamp. Inspired by poet Frank O’Hara, Kline began to release work under the name Frankie Cosmos in 2011. Like O’Hara, Kline is inspired by and writes about mundane subject matter within the cityscape of New York. She released her first album under Frankie Cosmos, “Zentropy,” in 2014, a work dedicated to the loss of her dog Joe Joe. 

While Frankie Cosmos’ early material may be perfectly described by the somewhat overused term ‘bedroom pop,’ four professionally recorded albums later, the music now presents a level of quality outside the scope of lo-fi. However, “Close it Quietly” still maintains a sense of warmth and mellowness that often accompanies the music and artists termed as such. And though the band now records professionally, Kline writes her own music, a fact made obvious through one listen. Her poetic reflections are personal and seemingly untouched by outside individuals or professionals — the opposite of commercialized.  

“Close it Quietly” boasts a set list of 21 tracks where Kline gets both personal and philosophical, but not necessarily overtly. Kline uses the natural world and descriptions of its many small and ornate majesties to evoke her inner turmoil, curiosities and qualms. On the fifth track, “A Joke,” she asks “Flowers don't grow in an organized way / Why should I?” The songs present a sense of maturation in their content, while sonically maintaining a childlike style and emphasis on the physical world. 

“Close it Quietly” relies more heavily on instrumentation than previous work to support Kline’s airy vocals. Tracks like “Moonsea” build up guitar and synths deliberately and add interest by emphasizing Kline’s vocal pace changes. With 21 tracks, the album does begin to tire. While each track includes interesting poetry on the lyrical side, some songs present little sonic variation from one to the next. 

Kline impressively bridges the physical and external world with her own inner world, effectively making her innately personal conflicts both relatable and inevitable. In “Wannago,” jumpy guitar riffs help create a summery, poppy sound, while Kline moves from the existence of people, singing “It's miraculous that humans are here / We built ourselves or god is real” to the simple — but deeply personal — “I’m crying here / In the backseat.” 

More concretely, Kline sings on “Last Season’s Textures,” “The news is excruciating / How'd the world get so devastating?” She notes the state of the larger world from her singular position, one where “all those things you hear about/ They only happen to other people.” Kline’s original lyrics relegated to descriptions of mundanity seemed to have extended to more overt descriptions of the larger world around her, retaining her personal and witty perspective. 

On the one-and-a-half minute track “A Hit,” Kline sings without any instrumentation, rapidly ascending and descending, sounding like a prayer recitation and creating a dreamlike quality. Finally, on the last track, “This Swirling,” Kline meditates on tears and crying — she compares herself to a dandelion: “Just a little bit of breath blows me apart.” Many of the tracks are melancholic and present dark subject matter, yet their sound retains an earnest playfulness. Kline’s presentation of sadness still has an air of lightness, a gentle suggestion that everything will somehow turn out okay. 

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