Greta Kline, bandleader and driving force behind Frankie Cosmos, pens lyrics which often centre on intensely personal stories and very specific emotions.
This can sometimes lead to her exact meaning being a little obscure to the wider public, which by no means hampers the listening experience: you can often find your own emotional truths within the songs, especially on repeated listens.
Some of the lyrics are poignant, and cut straight through to the heart of important topics. On “Being Alive” for example, Kline tackles mental wellbeing: “being alive / matters quite a bit / even if you feel like shit / being alive”. The song “Vessel” explores gendered expectations placed on Kline’s body: “Nothing comes natural / I don't feel my body is a vessel / But you seem to”.
Kline’s greatest lyrical strength, though, is the detailed observations. Opener “Caramelize” for example features the beautifully simple line: “closing my eyes and they start to sting / feeling my tear ducts doing their thing”.
There’s no denying that the 18 track album, which still only runs to just under 40 minutes, is incredibly gentle. Vessel often gives the impression of being spontaneous too, with a false start of the 40 second long “Ur Up”, and an impromptu cat piano at the end of “This Stuff”.
Yet while for some this will be charming and intimate, for others it may start to grate. Aside from a couple of off-kilter tempo changes, the songs do also tend to blend into one. It results in a pleasant, but mostly quite forgettable listen.