After nearly eight years making a name for themselves in the folk-pop scene coming out of Brooklyn, Pearl and the Beard called it quits last summer. Though the breakup came with great sadness, percussionist and vocalist Jocelyn Mackenzie wasn’t about to let the woe overtake her. Instead of succumbing, she decided to step through the darkness into her own solo career.
A little over a year following the band’s split, Mackenzie is returning with her debut solo EP, Unlovely. The effort sees Mackenzie fearlessly exposing sides of her talent that never got to flourish with PatB. It explodes right from the start with lead single and opening track “Kids”, a perfect slice of indie pop that feels like a logically reeled in tUnE-yArDs. “Panic Attack” is a stomping riot that lets Mackenzie’s powerful pipes and smart songwriting come into full focus. There are hints of her past musical output too, as with “17” and the Ani DiFranco co-written “(but if i become a) Centenarian”.
Heck, there’s even a bit of Blink-182 playfulness in the 28-second, self-explanatory bonus track “Meatballs”. It’s that kind of humor and positivity that helped Mackenzie make the EP in the first place.
“There was an immense amount of heartbreak in my life during the period Unlovely was being written and recorded,” she tells Consequence of Sound. “My loved ones, and these songs, came out of the woodwork to carry me right when I needed them most. It was both the most difficult and most gorgeous year I’ve experienced yet.”
Take a listen to Unlovely below. You can also hear Mackenzie play the songs live at an EP release show on August 27th at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade. Find tickets to that show here.