Mascott - Art Project
Record Label: Red Panda Records
Release Date: November 11, 2008
Mascott is an indie folk-pop group composed of Kendall Jane Meade and Margaret White, two singer/songwriters from New York City. Art Project, their third album, is their first album since 2004, and comes after Meade spent some time writing music and lyrics for an off-Broadway play. The frequent Sparklehorse collaborator knows her way around a good pop tune, that’s for certain. Though this is a band, she is the one that takes center stage. The nine song, self-produced, self-released (Red Panda is her own outfit) LP, clocks in at under 25 minutes, and contains no filler (thank God!). The quick pace of the songs and the total running times gives it more the feel of an EP than anything, and that’s probably the album’s only drawback.
Armed with a voice that’s sturdy, confident, and welcoming, Meade projects a big sound despite the fact that most of the songs are just her and a guitar. There’s nothing about her vocals that would make one turn away, in fact it’s just the opposite: one can’t but help but feel drawn to her.
Strings fill the opening song, “Live Again,“ a chamber pop piece laced with piano and “na, na, na’s.” Hope and romance pave the way in the chilled groove of “Press Play (and Repeat).” The album is dominated by a brisk shuffled pace, backed by a light, airy pop structure. Whether it’s the chiming whirl of an electric piano or the comfortable texture of an acoustic guitar, this is pretty much one continuous bounce from start to finish.
The only quiet song is number four, "Red Flowers," an ode to Meade's fallen sister, that actually holds its own. It’s nice that on an album chock-full of buoyancy and sprite melodies, the girls of Mascott can sit down and tackle the serious. It's been well-documented that artists end up proving their worth when showing their diversity.
Already hailed by Spin.com as an Artist of the Day, the group has garnered press from hipster promoters Cross Pollination, influential webzine The Deli, and even girly magazine Marie Claire. Perhaps what’s best about the disc is that nothing about Art Project is clichéd. Sure it’s been done before, but with honey-throated inflections, and a dazzling sense of musicianship, this is an album to listen to again and again and again.