That sweet sound of Frankie Cosmos is back in our lives with new 2019 releases! This time round, Cosmos has chucked the lo-fi guitars and the rhythmic drumming of the banging homemade indie-folk vibes of her previous releases, instead giving us a very stripped back collection of songs under the name Haunted Items.
These nine short cuts contain quite cryptic lyrics, where each song seems to represent a different physical item which have somehow played a significant role in Frankie’s life. The songs generally deal with memory and the passing of time, with reflections on break-ups and old friends who fade away as you grow older.
The storytelling can be fantastic. The song ‘February,’ for example, painfully describes the breakdown of a marriage. On this track, Cosmos purposefully mixes up what tense she sings in and the dates she sings about to confuse the listener as to when these life events took place and the details of their circumstances – perhaps she herself can’t remember properly? Other songs, especially the shorter cuts, are more indefinite, but they all build up the same picture of someone who’s broken and alone.
This is truly a beautiful collection. The instrumentation is solely Frankie and a piano which only really engages with simplistic chords. No rhythm section, bass guitar or drumming – nothing. The songs hold a great poignancy, as Cosmos’s voice sounds so delicate, and so exposed
in the void soundscape. This really helps to elevate and contextualise the sometimes vague themes – on hearing her lonely voice, everything she’s feeling and thinking suddenly seems to make sense.
Thoughtful and sad, this certainly isn’t the most cheery album for this stressful time of year.
Rather, it’s something you might want to listen to alone, and in the dead of winter on a cold and rainy night. Nonetheless, a great little collection which demands re-listen after re-listen.
Image: digboston via Wikimedia Commons