Frankie Cosmos’ Vessel delivers solid tunes with subtle sadness

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Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Sub Pop Records | Daily Texan Staff

With 18 short, high-energy, indie pop-punk tracks, Frankie Cosmos’ Vessel poetically explores themes of doubt, loss and the pains and joys of love.

Greta Kline, best known for her work under the name Frankie Cosmos, has become one of the most influential indie pop artists in her genre today. Kline’s third studio LP Vessel delivers a sound reminiscent of her previous work while narrowing in on a more energetic and fuller sound. Despite this subtle shift, Vessel is an album that successfully explores the complex emotions experienced by millennials, through her dense poetic lyrics and upbeat instrumentals,.

Veteran Frankie Cosmos fans will definitely notice faster, more dynamic arrangements on Vessel compared to her previous albums Next Thing and Zentropy. It has the usual four piece band composed of an electric guitar, bass, drums and synth, and the album’s intricate drumming and ever-evolving time signatures give the album it’s punk energy. Both “The Ballad of R&J” and “Caramelized” are perfect examples of this — each track fluctuates from fast to slow, adding weight and emotion to Kline’s opposing lyrics.

In recent interviews, Kline revealed she often places her darkest thoughts in her songs, it shows on this LP. Some of the most powerful lyrics on the album are found on the track “Cafeteria,” where Kline sings “I wasn’t built for this world, I had sex once, now I’m dead,” exploring her struggles with her body insecurities. She creates a strong sense of irony by pairing this with bouncing, high energy music.

Kline makes sure to pay tribute to the fans of her music by re-recording songs previously released on older EPs with the song “As Often as I Can”, dedicated specifically to her followers, according to a recent interview with Pitchfork. The songs “Duet” and Being Alive” are also re-recorded cuts off of her EPs “donutes” and “Affirms Glinting,” showing her dedication and appreciation for fans.

Despite the lengthy total of 18 songs on Vessel, the album’s run time is only 33 minutes, making each song short — some of the shortest songs run less than a minute long. Yet, these tracks still deliver a powerful and complete message. The track “My Phone”, running only 32 seconds, serves as a commentary on modern love in this digitally driven world. It uses lyrics such as “My phone will die and I won’t even cry, ‘Cause I know you’re nearby” to express how Kline doesn’t need constant reminders of affection through constant communication. This, along with a smattering of other short songs, shows how Kline can use a minimal amount of words to make a meaningful and impactful piece.

Although it may take a few listens to understand, Frankie Cosmos’ Vessel is a poetic and lyrically dense piece that easily speaks to the feelings of angst experienced in youth. With instruments that range from punk to indie pop rock, Vessel is sure to leave listeners jamming and dancing their sorrows away.

Rating: 8/10