On her third release, Mascott’s Kendall Jane Meade still sounds charmingly vulnerable, and still writes like she’s dotting her verse with unusually romantic British vernacular—once again confirming her gift for executing the three-minute pop song. With its timeless cross-section of pop modalities, Dreamer’s Book is a breakthrough for Ms. Meade. She builds her imminently accessible folk-pop tracks upon a foundation of languid, melancholy-dipped ruminations, then fades out on the ether of a few earthbound rockers; this album is defined by Meade’s innate sense of balance. Throughout, every mood and texture finds its complementary match, as the ice-breaking hush of the pristine “Time Waits” is melted by the gritty guitars and glistening drama of “Song from a Dream.”
Given her unassailable indie-rock pedigree, some listeners may be surprised by the decidedly VH1 direction of the sturdy, central guitar riff and quasi-soulful vocals of “Turn Off/Turn On” and thoughtfully effervescent patchwork of strings, dizzy guitar, and bouncy keys on “The Write-Up.” But even if she occasionally sounds more like Dido than Chan Marshall, Dreamer’s Book is the sound of an artist commandeering and combining her favorite moments from the recorded pop canon to create something far more distinctive than its constituent parts.