I'm a bit late to the party with Frankie Cosmos but I think I'm a real fan now. The band's new album, Vessel, drops on Sub Pop on Friday and it's equal parts semi-rollicking indie-pop and bits of easy nu-folk. There are 18 songs here and the majority are fairly short but all are -- thanks to the work of song-writer and band-leader Greta Kline -- bright bits of business, each sort of causing a listener to remember how much fun indie-pop can be, and how smart it remains when crafted by the right players.
Numbers like "Being Alive" and "Apathy" find a way to hit at everyday struggles, the sort that make most people want to give up. The folks in Frankie Cosmos are having none of that, of course, and tracks like the summery "Accommodate" and "Same Thing" suggest past bits of indie-pop greatness, like tunes from The Softies and Mary Lou Lord, for example, while serving as examples of a totally original set of voices in contemporary rock. Greta Kline manages to make this stuff work and there's a real sense of economical songwriting here that would cause even Robert Pollard to get a little jealous. Still, Greta's not alone here as she's joined by David Maine on bass, Lauren Martin on keys and guitar, and Luke Pyenson on drums, and each player adds a lot of life to what are relatively simple songs. Some tracks here, like the gentle "This Stuff" and the lovely "Jesse" are a bit more relaxed, but it's the more buoyant numbers here that set the toes a-tapping and create a memorable buzz in the eardrums, with so much of that buzz one that manages to inspire even the most jaded of listeners.
Vessel by Frankie Cosmos is an excellent record, and one that's so excellent that I sorta regret being so out of it when it comes to earlier Frankie Cosmos and Greta Kline releases. The sort of release that will casually re-affirm your faith in the power of pop music, Vessel is 18 tracks of lively, non-cynical rock. Have a blast and buy this one when it drops on Sub Pop on Friday.
[Photo: Loroto Productions]