Indie-pop kids rejoice, as Frankie Cosmos releases one of the true shining lights to come from the genre this year
On the second studio album under her Frankie Cosmos recording moniker, New York lo-fi songwriter Greta Kline demonstrates why she is currently one of the most gifted writers in the indie-pop arena.
2014’s Zentropy set the scene: sprinkled with crackling distortion, while ripe with thoughtful melodies and aching pop hooks, it was an indie-pop gem. Last year’s EP Fit Me In took Frankie Cosmos down the electronic route favoured by Kline’s beau Porches, hinting at a departure in direction.
What’s immediately apparent is that Next Thing is a companion to Zentropy, rather than the next stage of Fit Me In’s electronic evolution. The bleeps are largely gone, with Kline’s songwriting regaining its Rose Melberg-meets-Kimya Dawson brand of heartbreaking cutesiness. This is clear on tracks like Too Dark, Sappho and the aptly named Outside With The Cuties.
Where Next Thing departs from Zentropy is Kline’s easing off on the distortion, as she lets the clean notes favoured by All Girl Summer Fun Band reign supreme. However, where the Portland twee-pop trio are chipper, Kline is resigned, even fragile. Such as on I’m 20, or Tour Good, which leaves you wanting to wrap your arms around her and keep her from the despair of living through your early twenties. This, though, is something of a misnomer. Because while you feel sympathy for Kline, what draws you in is the empathy you feel her sincerity has for you. It’s this quality which is Frankie Cosmos’ greatest asset.
Like Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee, Greta Kline’s Frankie Cosmos is the hero of the bedroom dweller, the mouthpiece of those too softly spoken to hear themselves scream. Three years ago Cerulean Salt was the streetlight for those souls and while Frankie Cosmos is the flipside to the indie-pop coin which has paid dividends for Waxahatchee – trading in sweetness rather than catharsis – Next Thing can be a similar beacon for 2016.
Verdict: Heartbreaking and essential indie-pop