Frankie Cosmos is the musical project of Greta Kline and over the years she has amassed a load of EPs on Bandcamp – it almost feels dangerous to jump into her discography. I mean, today, I’ll be listening to her March release Zentropy, but since then she’s released two EPs – Zentropy just so happened to be the first release I heard. Cosmos’ work all feels relatable in its vulnerability and I believe that this is what makes this such an effective album – It reminds me of Weezer’s Pinkerton or Carissa’s Weird in the way it portrays itself as an incredibly personal release.
Like the rest of Kline’s work, that I’ve heard, the songs are almost like diary entries in the life of a coming of age outcast. For example, the albums opener, Art School, talks about the ins and outs of life in art-school and how it sucks, “All your friends drunk and wild/All my friends are dickheads.” It’s immature but loveable in the way the persona that the persona in the song could appeal to anyone that felt like an outcast.
It’s this charming outcast that makes this album so accessible and easy to listen to. The instrumentation is also really quaint, almost nostalgic for a simpler time in music. The laid back guitar in the album does a great job. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly lo-fi, but Zentropy does not have or need all the bells and whistles that some bands think are necessary.
The way that Zentropy sounds feels very similar to 1960s garage-rock bands and Kline’s lyrics do an impressive job of creating some truly memorable songs. The first opening lyrics of Dancing In The Public Eye, are a laugh, “My ass is made of velvet and my hips are made of stone and if you really love me you will leave me alone.” Then it pops into a catchy tune with thick guitar and a nice little vocal hook. It’s this clever use of lyrics and song-writing that put this album out there as a great singer-songwriter release, as opposed to a standard, ‘going through the motions’ acoustic plucker release.
This infectious cleverness also emerges in one of the albums best songs Birthday Song, which, despite its short length (just over a minute) still manages to be witty and catchy. “Just because I’m a certain age, doesn’t mean I’m older than I was yesterday.”
Zentropy is hard to pin down to a single mood, besides awkward-teenage-girl, but that’s fine – The way the songs move around in their tempos and moods fit the style of music that cosmos makes. Sad 2 is as upsetting as you might think and it also pulls the whole album together with the subtle strings behind the guitar and the quivering synth humming constantly. And for final words from an album “I wish that I could kiss his paws.” I think it’s fitting and effective for this album to end like this.
Frankie Cosmos have created a memorable album of clever vocal hooks, warm instrumentation and relatable songs that will speak to anyone at that certain age of teenagedom. And maybe it’ll speak to a few young adults beyond that, but either way, you cannot resist the charm of Zentropy and Frankie Cosmos.