Taken from Songwriting Magazine’s Spring 2018 issue out now, this is a featured review of Greta Kline’s new 18-track long-player
Vessel is the third album by much-loved New York indie-pop act Frankie Cosmos and the 52nd record to be released by band leader Greta Kline. With 2016’s Next Thing securing widespread acclaim, expectations are understandably high for its follow-up. Not only is Kline a prolific songwriter, she doesn’t skimp on the number of songs she includes with each release: the first Frankie Cosmos album featured 10 songs, the last included 15, and this time round Kline has gifted us with 18.
Some of these many tracks skip by and are over as soon as they began, with the lovely piano piece Ur Up, and ineffably sweet My Phone barely making it beyond the half-minute point. But despite their short length, none of this seems self-indulgent or an attempt to bump up the numbers.
Instead, it makes it clear that with each song Kline is exploring a specific idea, or moment. Take Apathy: here Kline explores what it’s like to realise that you’ve become distant and detached from people who you have cared deeply for. Or Jesse, where the subject matter is the influence that dreams and your subconscious have on your conscious life.
That is not to say that you can’t enjoy Vessel’s melodies in isolation from their lyrical content: This Stuff is a beatific indie-folk number with a gorgeous chord change; Being Alive races out of the blocks in mix of Tiger Trap, and All Girl Summer Fun Band, before a serene middle gives time for reflection; while Cafeteria is built on a shimmering and fuzzy riff that’s classic Frankie Cosmos.
It’s rare a record of double album length finishes before you’ve had a chance to process that it started. And Vessel is an unusual record in a wonderful way; the contrast between the brevity of the songs’ lengths and their volume, matched to their succinct lyrics, gives the sense that it’s a soundtrack of Kline’s life – you could imagine it being accompanied by a Wes Anderson produced stop-motion animated film.
This all adds up to make Vessel the most personal and engaging album Frankie Cosmos has released so far, the one which lets you look behind Kline’s eyes and forge a deep connection with the soul responsible for the wonderful music she produces.
Verdict: Personal and engaging
For more music reviews like this, and to explore Frankie Cosmos’ #SongwritingSurvivalKit, get our latest edition from pocketmags.com