Frankie Cosmos, known for her once-prolific output via Bandcamp, has just released her latest EP, Fit Me In. Containing only 4 tracks and clocking in at less than eight minutes long, it’s more of a mini-EP. Greta Kline, aka Frankie Cosmos, is trying something new with her latest release in that she’s experimenting with electronics rather than a full band. The result is dream/indie pop, with the light vocals she’s known for over sparse synth. Unfortunately, the combination isn’t enough to keep it interesting for the whole tiny record. Aaron Maine of Porches handled the electronics while Kline brought the poetic lyrics.
If you were to listen to this and then Frankie Cosmos’ last studio release, Zentropy, you would notice that it sounds just like the vocals have been transplanted. On Zentropy, Kline was backed by a band that provided fuzzy, lo-fi indie rock. Now, she’s backed by synth. This may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s not very meaty synth. It feels like something is lacking, but it could be the vocals’ ennui-filled delivery or it could be that the synth is missing some feeling. Considering the big feelings shared in the lyrics, it’s unfortunate that some of the songs sound so disinterested.
As for those big feelings, “Young” is a reaction to the reviews of her last album, which she made when she was just 19 years old. Critics couldn’t seem to get over the fact that she was young, and she was left wondering how to be young. It’s a reaction to having her songs reviewed and not knowing how to take the fixation on her age rather than judging the music on its own. The situation probably wasn’t helped by the fact that Kline’s parents are actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. These are the tidbits that will make it into every review and article, even this one. The lyrics on this one are easy enough to figure out and well-written.
The best song on the album, by far, is “Sand.” At just 49 seconds long, it ends just as you’re getting into it. It has an actual bass in it, with synth that pops in to give it a Cure-like sound. It’s the happiest song on the album, describing a date on a long summer day in New York City, touching old books at Strand. The soft vocals go well with the sweet subject matter, the synth is used in a fun way, the bass grounds the songs with something more organic than the rest of the album.
Fit Me In seems to be an attempt to combine Frankie Cosmos’ sound with the synth pop that’s out there now. It succeeds on “Sand:” the combination of synth, drum machine, and bass is great, the vocals fit the sound well. The combinations miss the mark on the other songs though, with Kline sounding kind of bored over the sleepy electronics (“O Contest Winner” is the best example of this.) Try to imagine Alvvays’ Molly Rankin or Karen O. if they put way less emotion into their vocals . Frankie Cosmos has a full-length album slated for release in 2016 that will have a four-piece backing band, so further experimentation with synth will have to wait. She hit it out of the park on “Sand” so at least there’s potential for future experiments.