From Kiev to Kansas City, 20-somethings the world over tend to traffic in the same sort of distractions from modern life: clothes, sneakers, cars, love. Mascot, the debut LP from Ukranian guitar and drum machine noise makers, Bichcraft, holds these things for what they are: fleeting diversions from the bleak realities of modern times and an increasingly uncertain political landscape. That the band composed, wrote and recorded Mascot’s eight songs in its hometown of Kiev only adds to their authority on the matter. As Dima Novichenko sings in the album opener ‘Didn’t Know,’ “There are erased numbers on your road… We better cover our heads.”
This is heavy, paranoid music in the shape of frenetic jams like “A4,” in which waves of dual-guitar noise accompany a digitized howl, chanting from deep inside the mix. Often, guitar interludes emerge quickly and take a song in a new direction as they do in "Might Night Dicks." On this track Novichenko and Bichowski display an extensive post-punk guitar vocabulary. They are as fluent in Psychocandy as they are early SY. After hearing the record’s interwoven guitar lines, it should come as no surprise that the two originally met up to play garage jazz before Serzh Kupriychuk and Jenia Machina joined to handle bass and drum machines, respectively.
For its brutality and chaos, Mascot has some undeniably pretty moments: the lilting guitar refrain that kicks off “Bushes,” for example, or the often poetic imagery in Novichenko and Bichowski’s lyrics about the natural world, love and decay. Still, these nods to beauty always lead back to fractured songs about suburban scenes where mankind’s disregard for nature is just a warning of greater dangers looming on the edge of town.