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Frankie Cosmos - "Vessel" | Album Review


by Drew Cowen (@hi_mynameisdrew)

One would be hard pressed to find a contemporary rock group that utilizes short song structures as effectively as Frankie Cosmos. The fact that Greta Kline is able to conjure such vivid images in under two minutes shouldn’t be understated. With Vessel, Kline balances the tightrope of lyrics and music with the confidence of an artist who knows their strengths. The ability to match form and aesthetic is pivotal to any artist’s vision.

This ability is evident on the song “As Often as I Can.” On the song, Kline sings, “I love you so / I’ll let you know / As often as I can.” Though the lyrics promise commitment, Kline doesn’t actually say ‘I love you’ that much during the 1:04 — barely two times altogether. The inability to express authentic affection is a central theme to many of the new songs.

Here’s a (cool?) activity to try: instead of listening to Frankie Cosmos' Vessel, read it! Yes, reading isn’t as fun as the infectious indie pop music vibrating behind the new album, but even without instrumentals Greta Kline’s lyrics read like impressionistic poetry. The words capture a mood or thought eloquently, then vanish. They’re worth your time.

Still, you should probably listen to it too. Subtle verbal deliveries revitalize the anxiety present in many of the songs. Greta Kline delivers her phrases with what is best described as melancholic effervescence. The way she pronounces “caramelize” (care-ah-melize), the nervous giggle following the false start in “Ur Up” and the energetic countoff for “Being Alive” all have a strange way of diffusing depression. 

In the end, Vessel is about love. It’s about the love we feel for friends and partners and ourselves. Love is simultaneously a source of comfort and great anxiety. Kline grapples with this contradiction on the album, but she emerges better for the experience. Vessel is Kline's most emotionally intelligent album to date.