Close It Quietly
Sub Pop · September 6, 2019
“Close It Quietly is a continual re-framing of the known,” starts the description for Frankie Cosmos’ junior album. Singer Greta Kline’s voice is distinctive, making the entire sound that Frankie Cosmos creates distinctive. This could easily pave the path towards redundancy, but the band seems determined to grow with each album. Kline’s songwriting, along with the band’s performance and production makes for a collaboration that feels full of life, full of wonder, and full of progress.
Every album crafted by Frankie Cosmos has the signature trademark of Greta Kline’s whimsical, poetic songwriting. She manages to continue this theme by leaping into the first track “Moonsea” with one of the most memorable lines of the entire album: “The world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say.” She claims she doesn’t have much to say yet delivers us a 21-song album filled to the brim with lyrics that make your head feel as bubbly as a can of soda. The lyrics “It’s miraculous that humans are here / We built ourselves or god is real” on “Wannago” paint colors into the world again; they remind us that humans are incredible. Then on “Last Season’s Textures,” lyrics like “The news is so excruciating / How’d the world get so devastating? / I’m just fucking glad for my bubble / Despite how often it is penetrated by evil” remind us that we are… awful. At the age of 25, Kline is halfway to 30, stuck between tender adolescence and settled adulthood. Kline cradles the gray areas of life. Close It Quietly exists as a middle ground between start and finish, embracing the growth in between.
Close It Quietly demonstrates a growth from the band’s previous albums when focusing on the instrumental fullness. Kline’s songwriting has always been there on past albums and remains strong, but there is a clear distinction between the instruments on Zentropy, where Frankie Cosmos was only a two instrument band, to Close It Quietly, where a bassist, drummer, and keyboardist all shine in their own ways. On “Cosmic Shop” and “Windows”, jaunty drums from Luke Pyenson sound reminiscent to a Peter Bjorn and John song. “A Joke” offers a synthetic drum machine approach until the end of the song where the snares and top hats bloom. It seems to fit in with the songs lyrics “Flowers don’t grow in an organized way, why should I?,” where even the drums have a difficult time staying in the role it chose at the start. Fans of Frankie Cosmos would recognize “Rings (On a Tree)” from Greta Kline’s solo Haunted EP series, yet the band’s addition on the song evolves it into a funkier melody. The contrast between the two emphasizes the band’s impact on this album and how the members create a richer, fuller sound that colors in the background of the Frankie Cosmos template. It sounds like Frankie Cosmos with a little extra.
Not every song needs the extra flair of the band to be a great band, though. “Marbles” is one of the sweetest songs on the album and contains just a gentle acoustic plucking. It’s a song wrapped in pure love and tenderness. Kline’s soothing voice sings ‘Oh darling, I wanna give you all my marbles,’ and you feel like the air you’re breathing is sweeter. The shortest song on the album, “Self-destruct” also only features an acoustic guitar, but with darker lyrics like “Not violent enough to self destruct, but I wanna stop being in this life.” Kline has the gift of turning her thoughts, both good and bad, into poetry. Then turning that poetry into music that plays in your dreams.
Frankie Cosmos is able to add and subtract gravity on each song. One will float you away while the other will pull you into the ground. Close It Quietly doesn’t fail to continue this streak. The album feels authentic and collaborative. One can only hope that the future shines as bright as what the band has been churning out.