Greta Kline known under her stage name as Frankie Cosmos is an independent pop artist from the city of dreams, known world-wide as “The Big Apple”, New York City. She started her musical career circa 2009, releasing various pieces of music via her bandcamp page under the moniker of Ingrid Superstar, and since then she has gone on to release three full length studio albums, and her latest being Vessel (and the first under the alias of Frankie Cosmos to be released as complete band, as long as her first work to be released under the Sub Pop label) and the subject of this review, had released just this past March, on the 30th of the month. Frankie Cosmos music is often inspired by literature and poetry, namely the works of Frank O’Hara, and she transverses the genres of lo-fi, and folk.
Vessel consists of 18 tracks, varying in length from 36 seconds to just a little over 3 minutes, and has a final length of 33 minutes. The album starts with Greta Kline quietly harmonizing with herself under the backing of the soft strum of guitars on the track “Caramelize”, where she sings about where she sings about rejection and self-consciousness:
“I want in on the other side
Love your eyelids where you hide
Or further in that neatest dark
But my boyish emotion
Keeps me soft like the ocean
Are you relieved when I leave? “
On the minute long track “Often As I Can” Greta sings about letting people know they’re loved as often as she can, and expresses a heart warming sensibility. Later on the album is the track “Being Alive”, which Pitchfork featured as “Best New Music” upon its release as a single earlier this year. It’s a track that explores the act of caring for someone when you’re not quite sure of how to actually articulate such feelings, and how the ways that you do express them become awkward, setting forth a cycle of trying to balance expressing yourself while still acting natural.
It’s true that most of the tracks on Vessel are quite short, but they’re often just as sweet and can contain a wide range of and emotions and musings that expand from love and self loathing, all the way to more abstract and existential inquiries. For example on the song “Apathy”, she sings about wanting to feel like she was specifically designed for a distinct purpose, rather than existing without any clear meaning. The instrumentals are filled with twang, and with the help of half spoken vocals, they pull at your heart to leave you to reflect on the many aspects of the human existence, and are most reminiscent of “Flake Musics’ 1997 album When You Land Here, It’s Time To Return.