Frankie Cosmos: A Review

Band on the Wall intern and music journalist Tom Woodward attended the Frankie Cosmos concert on Friday 5 August 2017. We asked him what he thought of the show…

Greta Kline’s transformation from bedroom-recording songstress to indie pop sensation has been nothing short of spectacular. From her humble beginnings as a Bandcamp folk musician to topping end of year ‘best of’ lists, her prolific Frankie Cosmos project has become one of the most hotly-tipped acts in twee pop. Their unique take on guitar-based pop music is celebrated here at Band on the Wall, with the group playing to a packed audience of Friday night revellers.

The first act of the night is from Bristol based musician Trust Fund. Whilst Ellis Jones’ outfit often features additional members, it’s just one man and one guitar tonight. Musically, Trust Fund combine the sound of indie pop melodicism with tinges of Midwest-emo vocals and twinkly guitar playing. The solitary guitar work is warm and appealing, and Jones’ vulnerable falsetto vocals support his wry, earnest lyrics. Bearing similarities in both sound and mood to Greta’s work, Trust Fund are a well-chosen touring partnership and an excellent start to the evening.

Greta takes to the stage shortly after the other three members of Frankie Cosmos and they burst into their set with immediacy. There is very little chatter between the brief songs, with a performance which mainly stems from the breakthrough record Zentropy and their most recent critically lauded album Next Thing. Tracks including ‘Fool’, ‘Leonie’ and ‘Embody’ showcase Greta’s ability to wistfully lament upon lifetime experiences into a few lines of pensive prose. Her effortless, contemplative romanticisms lead to audience singalongs and cheers, with the band matching her steady guitar playing and unforced lyrically delivery with sparse percussion, gleaming keyboards and echoing basslines. The comfortable feel of the venue and note-for-note clarity of the sound faultlessly supports the group’s subtle instrumentation and unobtrusive playing style, whilst allowing enough room for impact in the louder and brisker moments. Tonight is the last night of the tour for Cosmos, and though her demeanour is often shy, it adds to the allure of her music. Her frequent exchanges with the band members result in charming instances, including a smiles abundant glance with keyboardist Gabrielle as they sing extended vocal harmonies.

Frankie Cosmos leave the stage to calls for an encore, though the switching on of the house lights suggest otherwise. It wouldn’t really seem right for the group to indulge in rock clichés after-all, save for the bass player’s Spinal Tap looking guitar. Frankie Cosmos’ charisma lies in their ability to summarise adolescent nostalgia into two-minute pop songs, and this knack shines through in a performance which leaves every audience member with a smile on their face.