Published Mar 27, 2018On Vessel, Frankie Cosmos's third studio album (and 52nd release overall, if you include the project's bountiful Bandcamp discography), Greta Kline poignantly reflects on the chaotic past few years. Endless months of touring, combined with the dissolution of a long-term relationship and subsequent formation of a whole new band left Kline feeling "fried," as she gently croons on Vessel's eighth track. While this could have very easily translated into bitterness, Kline maintains a sense of optimism that carries the record with perky jubilance.
With a staggering 18 songs, Vessel may appear daunting at first, but quickly proves itself to be a sharp and smooth listen. Tender album opener "Caramelize" and introspective closer "Vessel" both clock in as the lengthiest numbers at three-and-a-half minutes, making the remaining tracks flow quickly and effortlessly through each other. In true Frankie Cosmos fashion, some of the strongest pieces don't even crack 60 seconds. "My Phone," a brief ode to the importance of maintaining relationships offline, only needs half a minute to resonate with the listener, as Kline softly sings "My phone will die, and I won't even cry / 'Cause I know you're nearby / I know you're nearby" overtop of gently plucked guitar.
Vessel is flecked with raw humility: Kline's laughter as she fumbles at the beginning of "Ur Up" before starting over; hearing her count in before "Being Alive" joyfully kicks off. These moments retain the genuine warmth of Frankie Cosmos's Bandcamp days, despite the record being the project's debut release for Sub Pop. Marking another chapter of triumphs, trials and tribulations in Kline's life, Vessel's sound is amplified and cohesive. It's a record to remind us that "being alive / matters quite a bit / even when you feel like shit." (Sub Pop)