Dreamer's Book

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There is nothing wrong with vocalists reinventing themselves stylistically as long as they do it well. Those who know Kendall Jane Meade from the '90s alternative pop/rock band Juicy might think of the New York City resident as an energetic, aggressive, spunky, emotionally assertive type of singer. But as Mascottas leader, Meade has moved in a surprisingly different direction and has successfully reinvented herself as an introspective singer/songwriter with a folk-rock/adult alternative orientation. Dreamer's Book is an appropriate title for this 2004 release because the material does have a very dreamy quality, and this hushed, relaxed, gently reflective Meade is a major departure from Juicyas alterna-rock energy. But not once does Meade sound like she is the least bit uncomfortable as a laid-back singer/songwriter; quite the opposite, in fact. Dreamer's Book is consistently appealing, and memorable tracks like "L.O.V.E.," "Turn Off/Turn On" and "Bluebirds in Heaven" make it clear that Meade is enjoying this softer direction a great deal. This is certainly a more subtle and lighter Meade than we knew back in the mid-'90s, but on Dreamer's Book, light doesn't mean lightweight -- vulnerable, certainly, but not wimpy or weak-minded. For all their subtlety and restraint, these songs have a lot of meat on their bones; Meade gets her emotional points across effectively and demonstrates she doesn't need a lot of volume to hold the listener's attention. In the '90s, Juicy fans never envisioned Meade as a gentle folk-rocker, but the folk-rock aesthetic serves her pleasingly well on this rewarding disc.

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