Released in 2004, Mockingbird was the first proper Papercuts album release (following 2000’s long out of print Rejoicing Songs, from Owen Ashworth’s Cassingle USA imprint) and introduced the world to the genius of songwriter and studio wizard Jason Quever.
Based out of Quever’s Panamerican Recording Studios, the Papercuts band has served as an incubator for songwriters and performers over the years, and the version of the band that collaborated for Mockingbird includes Matt Popeliuch (on keyboards and backing vocals) and Luke Top (on drums), themselves later the bandleaders of Los Angeles’ Foreign Born and Fools Gold respectively.
Mockingbird serves as a calling card for the trademark Papercuts sound: Velvety baroque pop with production that mines the rich middle ground between Phil Spector and Kevin Shields and a distinctive groove like your favorite early pop/r&b single playing at 33 rpm. Lush arrangements and biting lyrical content (try “Pan American Blues Pt. 2,” or “A Fairy Tale”) are reminiscent of Scott Walker or more recent practitioners of gloom such as Red House Painters, Okkervil River or Rufus Wainwright (minus all the bombast) but are given a unique urgency by Quever’s reverb-soaked falsetto. A classic album.