The Mascot Theory New Album ‘Every Sign of Life’

When singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Erik Kjelland sings, “You don’t have to be out there on your own,” it highlights how the pandemic had a lasting impact on this Texas quintet. Every Sign of Life is an epic-length 15-track album that clocks in at just over an hour. It’s a rock album filled with passionate, and also passionately reflective songs.

With that said, though, the group nevertheless inputs some true rock & roll swagger into its album. It’s impossible to resist the cool groove of “The Wrong Side,” for example. Then on “End of the Line,” the group gives us some grooving country rock that just feels so good. Speaking of irresistible, dig the Bo Diddley rhythm that drives the sexy “Sliver of a Maybe.” These slices of simple, straight forward rock and roll (with the grooves to match) may just by examples of the need to blow off a little steam while cranking up the volume. The pandemic had us so restricted, constricted and conflicted, so the only good way to respond would be to make a little musical noise. Maybe that’s what the group is doing in some of these instances.

“Stone Cold”:


VIDEO (“Stone Cold”)

There are also slower, more reflective tracks on this voluminous project. One of these is “Goodbye I Wish You Well,” which is a country rocker. Even though it’s a ‘goodbye’ song, its singer adds how he’s not quite ready to let this one person get away. Sometimes we say goodbye, even though we’re not prepared to separate for good. This is followed by “Coming Home,” another slower one, which is also country-ish. It has a bit of a Neil Young vibe running through it, due to the harmonica part that comes in and out of the mix.

The video for the rocking “Stone Cold” showcases the band taking on five children in a game of dodgeball. They’re dressed in basketball uniforms, though, so at first, you’ll think they’re going to play basketball together. Of course, much like the David and Goliath story from The Bible, these young kids end up defeating the adults. The message is that, if you want to take on life challenges, you need to be stone cold dedicated – just as these kids were.


The album closes with the blues-y, optimistic “Best is Yet to Come.” The pandemic left a lot of us down and hopeless. However, most of us got past this universal emergency in one piece. Heck, if we can survive a pandemic, we can probably get past anything. You can look back and mope about how bad things can be, or you can see it as an obstacle we’ve all gotten over. It’s all about your attitude. These guys, by closing their album this way, have chosen to be optimistic. The song is put to a jaunty beat. “I believe the best is yet to come,” they sing during the track’s chorus. Let’s hope they’re right. For many of us, the best IS yet to come. We just need to focus on every sign of life, to quote the album’s title.

-Dan MacIntosh