Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review: Frankie Cosmos "Vessel" LP

On friday, March 30th, 23 year old Greta Kline will release Vessel, her 52nd album to date. No small feat for anyone, much less someone who has an average of one album per every 4 months for being on the planet.

Having so many albums in such a short time one could expect that a lack of curating could produce a turkey of an album every now and then, but 'Vessel' is no turkey.

Kline began uploading songs she had written and recorded in her bedroom at the age of 15, under several monikers including Ingrid Superstar (her dogˈs name) and Frankie Cosmos; a nickname given to her by a boyfriend.

 In 2014 Kline moved away from the singer/songwriter role into a full band for Frankie Cosmos' first physical release Zentropy. Unlike her mountain of albums before that would jump between folk/acoustic guitar, to experimental electronica to punk; Zentropy was more focused and had a more cohesive sugary pop sound throughout.

The next full band release, called Next Thing,  was a rerecording of songs from some of her previous releases but as a full band, and again with the same pop sound from Zentropy. While Next Thing was her most critically acclaimed release to date (and on our 2016 top 10 list), it did signify a move into a more restrained sound, not jumping from genre to genre as whim and emotion saw fit.

At first glance, Vessel falls into this trap as well, with the opening track Caramelize holding the same bubblegum pop sound of Next Thing and Zentropy; Which isn't to say the super slick sound of Kline and Co. isn't worth ingesting, tracks like Jesse and Duet hold all the earnestness of a confused teen in love, but there was a unique thumbprint in the early releases in the form of background noise, off mic chatting, and noisy gutterpunk samples.  But, by the 4th track, This Stuff, it is clear that Kline had found a way to bring out the early intimate style as well as the teenage ramble tamble with her new band.

Quite possibly the strongest track on Vessel is a throwback to the theory of the album This Thing, as it is a reworking of an older, pre-band, Frankie Cosmos song from 2014's Affirms Glinting.

And, as it happens, There is a very strong Louisville connection to this new version of Being Alive, as the very first time this new arrangement was played was on stage at the Zanzabar in 2017, as an impromptu experiment for the band. Right before they played the song Kline announced to the band and to her friends in the opening act, Nice Try, that she always meant to ask them to sing the chorus but always forgot and asked if they could try it despite never practicing it this way, and to the crowd's and Greta's delight bandmates Lauren Martin and Luke Pyensonn obliged, as well as Madeline Robinson, of Nice Try (who also appears on Vessel).

There is no doubt that Frankie Cosmos' Vessel will be making an appearance on our 2018 Best Of List as well.

No comments: