Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Electric Poems

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 1999 at 12:00 AM

An innocent and pleasantly amateurish release, Electric Poems is wistfully simple, as befits a Le Grand Magistery recording. Organ, flute, harpsichord, timpani and mellotron, plus the usual drums, bass and guitar, are woven into effortless, minimal folkpopsongs. Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Kendall Jane Meade must have been in a melancholy, wishful mood when she crafted these lovely, bittersweet gems. Vocally, she captures the essence of Sarah Records’ girl bands or the Innocence Mission. Lyrically, she remains within the intimacy of her diary. This is the girl who wandered around your high school halls lost in thoughts and dreams, eyes wide shut and a playful Mona Lisa smile on her lips.

Perhaps a testament to Meade’s solid songwriting skills, Mascott’s music could be stripped down to just bass, guitar and vocals without losing the essence of the music, not unlike contemporaries Damon and Naomi. In "Baby, Go Away," Meade’s charmingly weak vocals and just-guitar over a background of street noise emote volumes. What the rest of the instruments do is intensify the softness of each song. The flute interlude and the harpsichord in "Eyes" add a joyously understated flavor to what might easily have been another "I wrote this in my bedroom" song.

On each track, it becomes obvious that two of Mascott’s strongest elements are, first, thoughtful production and, second, the bass lines which do not simply copy the guitar or vocals but add an extra melodic interest to the music. Put on your rose-colored headphones for this one.

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