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Frankie Cosmos - "Fit Me In" | Album Review

by Marcus Gauthiér

Greta Kline has a seemingly innate ability to create a sense of intimacy with her music. The nearly 500 songs on her Bandcamp page all exude the feel of someone pulling you into a room to play you a song they're writing on acoustic guitar. What makes Frankie Cosmos special though, is the ability to replicate that same feeling that she's sharing pages from her diary with you even while playing with a full band to a larger crowd.

On Fit Me In, her latest EP and second release with a label, Frankie Cosmos duplicates this sense of closeness while making a sharp left turn from the sound that gained her widespread acclaim with Zentropy. The EP is described on Kline’s Bandcamp page as a “one-off experiment in ‘fitting’ Kline’s songwriting into an electronic sound characteristic of current pop culture”. Certainly, the EP bears little resemblance to the jangly guitar-based Zentropy, but it is also unlikely to be confused with the typical pop songs that have dominated the Billboard charts in recent years.

The sound of Fit Me In is more reminiscent of is that of Ronald Paris a.k.a. the synth-pop solo project of Aaron Maine of Porches., who produced this EP. Similar to Maine’s work as Ronald Paris, the songs here are crisply produced and splashed with electronic synth flourishes.

The 4 songs that make up Fit Me In are brief, simple, and sparse (totaling about 7 and a half minutes). But it would be selling the songs short to describe them as afterthoughts or rough drafts. Instead, the bareness of the songs allow Kline’s vocals the space to breath and penetrate. This is perhaps most evident on opener “Korean Food”, which first appeared on Kline’s Bandcamp page (in a much different form) back in 2013’s Daddy Cool, and has supposedly been recorded with a full band for the follow-up to Zentropy. In comparison, the Daddy Cool version (which features a droning keyboard) sounds practically lifeless. Part of the difference may be the quality in production, but I think there's more. The version that appears here is made up of little more than Kline’s voice, a drum machine, and bubbling bare-bones synths, but the vocals cut through the mix and force the listener to pay attention – a clear indication of a more confident singer and songwriter.

This EP is a clear collaboration between Kline and Maine, and is likely to sound little like Frankie Cosmos’ upcoming full length (by Kline’s standards- Zentropy was a brief 17 minutes), which will feature a full four-person band with Gabby Smith (Eskimeaux) and Maine’s brother, David. However, if anything is to be taken of what to expect from Frankie Cosmos going forward based on this release, it's that Kline is growing in confidence as a musician and that she is only going to get better.