Music Reviews
Close It Quietly

Frankie Cosmos Close It Quietly

(Sub Pop) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

Three songs into Frankie Cosmos’ latest album, Close It Quietly, Greta Kline asks the million-dollar question: “Does anyone wanna hear the 40 songs I wrote this year?” The answer, of course, is yes. A million times and a million songs yes. In a year marked by release after release of dream-pop covered in layers of gauzy synths and strings, Kline and her cohorts throw out a punched up indie-pop lifeline for those that want it. Working with Gabe Wax as co-producer, Kline and her bandmates sound enlivened without losing any of their quirky charm. Operating at their closest to a permanent line-up, Lauren Martin (keys, vocals) and Luke Pyenson (drums) return while Alex Bailey (bass) is added to the full album mix.

Kline’s as easy a money bet as you are going to find when it comes to her ability to write a tuneful song. Her vocals continue their journey through the refiner’s fire, losing their earlier bedroom huskiness and appearing here at their most crystalline. Whether spitting out the dozens of diamonds that album highlight Windows refers to or claiming she doesn’t have much to say on the buzzy opener Moonsea, Kline’s voice creates its own hooks over the course of 21 songs in under 40 minutes. Close It Quietly concerns itself with the inability to find shelter in the storms of today, with recurring motifs of backs turned, things left undone and unsaid, and a longing for a natural order.

Given its brisk cadence, many of Close It Quietly’s tracks race along pushed by Pyenson’s and Bailey’s sturdy rhythms. In fact, some of the standout moments on the album are also some of its shortest. Where many artists’ minute long tracks could be viewed as throwaways, songs like Even Though I Knew and Did You Find come fully formed. The former is a fast-paced surfy rumble with time somehow left for riff-filled breaks, while Did You Find somehow manages to feel anthemic over the course of barely more than a minute. The heavier handed Never Would evidences Kline’s whip-smart wit in writing a song about not writing a song.

Other high points include the inverted structure of A Joke with its Whack-A-Mole drumming and some of Kline’s most lilting vocals weaving in between. The updated Rings (On A Tree), appearing in a stripped-down solo take earlier this year, and Windows show the band's ability to still bash and pop on relatively longer takes. They even put forth a relatively grimier approach on I’m It, as Kline’s vocals find a way to modulate their way through. Never short on ideas, the album remains on sturdy melodic ground all the way through. With Great Purpose is a lovely piano and acoustic guitar ballad with barely audible harmonies coming in mid-song. The group saves up for a strong closer in the appropriately titled This Swirling. Some of Kline’s sweetest sounding vocals are left for a tongue twister of a chorus—a tongue twister where she leads a vocal ribbon through the song, tying off Close It Quietly with a tight bow.

There's no doubt that Kline’s abundance of sharp ideas and approaches will lead her down some other paths, but Close It Quietly’s full-band approach yields an embarrassment of eminently listenable indie-rock gems. As Kline succinctly puts it on the single Wannago, she and her band “go together like cymbal and snare.” Wax for his part may have led the band to a fuller sound, but one that never overpowers the songs. If you were going to try and knock Kline at all you might say she’s formulated the recipe to produce an endless river of “no-miss” songs. But as with Coca-Cola’s closely guarded 7X blend, you know you’d give your left kidney to be able to repeatedly concoct songs Frankie Cosmos’ style.