Frankie Cosmos - Close It Quietly - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Frankie Cosmos - Close It Quietly

by Tim Sentz Rating:6 Release Date:2019-09-06
Frankie Cosmos - Close It Quietly
Frankie Cosmos - Close It Quietly

The trajectory of Cambridge indie rocker Greta Kline is something to behold. Born from two well-known actors (Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates), her introduction to the indie music scene was ushered in with her 2014 debut Zentropy, but before that she stewed away on Bandcamp with multiple releases. The fact that she’d starred in movies as a child wasn’t a selling point, hence the moniker Frankie Cosmos - a name no one could relate to Hollywood unless it was a character from a Nickelodeon show. 

Relying solely on her merits, she’s produced a handful of records over the years, all with almost identical aesthetic: fairly long tracklist, roughly a half-hour of music, most songs 1-2 minutes in length. Frankie Cosmos as an entity doesn’t really splash like others in the genre do. For every Angel Olsen cultist, we get a Frankie Cosmos churning out reliable, if not ill-fated indie rock. Such is the case with her fourth album Close it Quietly, as she belts out “I make everyone else blue” on “So Blue,” it's a pretty hardened statement about her type of sound. And that’s the rub about Cosmos. Four albums and they all literally sound the same. It’s not a bad thing, it just becomes fairly predictable as any one of these songs can be sandwiched into a spot on Vessel or Next Thing. It’s a shame too because Kline can write heartfelt poetry, her words aren’t minced on any of her songs, it’s all honesty and directness about her stasis. 

“Rings (On a Tree)” follows the formula well, and even if there’s some playful guitar work, and Kline’s sweet-sixteen vocals at the forefront, it’s hardly enough to mask that these songs honestly don’t have much meat to them. It’s not to diminish Cosmos, she’s a talented writer, but the fact that very few songs on Close It Quietly stand out, tells one just how homogenous the scene has become. 

On Vessel, Kline felt way more in-tune with everything from her band to her conscience, so to hear how primitive and basic Close it Quietly is, it’s hard to fathom a more vanilla sound than this. Even the minor highlights like “Windows” do little to distinguish themselves from the previous track or the next track. After four albums of this, one would think there’d be some kind of desire to change things up. But alas, Close it Quietly prefers to keep everyone marginally satisfied, just enough to say “yeah, that was okay.” 

And “okay” is about the best way to describe Close It Quietly. It’s just okay. Okay for an okay band. As the pool of indie-rock singer-songwriters continues to get more and more saturated in 2019, there’s little that Frankie Cosmos can bring to the table to get themselves ahead of the rest. The strongest moments from Close It Quietly come when Kline steps out from behind the curtain and cuts loose a bit. 

On “Wannago” she pushes her vocal delivery to heights not seen often on the record. There are flourishes of influences: you can get a feel for some Dinosaur Jr. in spots, the warm riffage is still captivating all these years later. But again, it’s overused, to the point that one can predict exactly where the songs will peak and drop. Frankie Cosmos continue to fortify their image as the indie rock band who writes hooky and punchy two-minute songs, but ultimately do little to stand out from the crowd. There’s probably some commendable aspects to that approach, but even the most basic bands can still step out of their comfort zone every once in a while.

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