The onetime bedroom project of singer/songwriter Greta Kline, Frankie Cosmos made its debut as a four-piece band dozens of albums later with 2018's Vessel, a release that doubled as the project's Sub Pop debut. A year and a half later, Close It Quietly continues on the path set by that album, with a sound reinforced by input from, as opposed to the mere presence of, bandmates (here, drummer Luke Pyenson, keyboardist Lauren Martin, and bassist Alex Bailey). As with all Frankie Cosmos output, the spotlight remains on Kline's endearingly candid confessions and observations thanks in part also to first-time collaborator Gabe Wax (The War on Drugs, Fleet Foxes, Palehound), who engineered and co-produced the album. While lyrics on Close It Quietly still bounce between heartache, affection, self-consciousness, and playfulness, disappointment hovers like a cloud overhead after it opens with the ironic: "The world is crumblin' and I don't have much to say." That first song, "Moonsea," is indicative of the set's subtly more complex chords and nuanced arrangements. It starts with Kline's lone vocals, quickly adding countermelodic bass and steady drums as the guitar marks off harmonic progressions before other tones, including loungey vibraphone, gently flesh out the atmosphere. The song then settles into a hookier, more staccato guitar pop before collapsing into a slow churn replete with crashing cymbals and drum fills. The cycle repeats once in the catchy two-minute track, with all sections unfolding in a way that seems perfectly natural in conjunction with the emotional peaks and valleys of the lyrics. Nearly every song is a deceptively complex, mini pop confection in this way, through sadder songs like the nonetheless lively "So Blue" ("I am so blue/I make everyone else blue/My friends, my enemies, you"); the theatrical and ultimately empowering "Rings (On a Tree)"; and bops like "Even Though I Know," which finds texture in its guitar presentation. Though ever-efficient, the album breathes from time to time with solo voice-and-guitar songs like the tender "Marbles" (electric) and "With Great Purpose" (acoustic). There's even an a cappella entry in the form of "A Hit" ("Every song is a hit if you pretend to understand it"), a track that reveals that Kline's vulnerable and perfectly flawed delivery -- wispy on the high notes -- is almost too sweet to take on its own. Though the songs average just under two minutes each, at 21 tracks, it's generous for a Cosmos outing and does nothing to detract from Kline's reputation as one of indie pop's most reliable songsmiths.
Close It Quietly Review
by Marcy Donelson