Jessica Lea Mayfield stared straight ahead and played depressing songs at Iota on Tuesday. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

It was a sign of things to come about as much as the opening scene of a horror movie in which the pretty young things happily frolic before getting systematically disemboweled.

Things weren’t so gory at Iota but the mood quickly got darker and rarely brightened up throughout the 70-minute set that drew heavily from her second album, this year’s “Tell Me.” The next song was “Somewhere In Your Heart,” which Mayfield (who turns 22 this weekend) and her three-piece band played as a plodding dirge. Like most of her songs it is tuneful and a supreme bummer about all the worst kinds of love. She stared blankly ahead, eyes fixated on nothing in particular and forced out the opening lines, “My mind is weak and twisted/Alone with my fantasy.” It ended it in a much worse place: “I’d rather die young and be forgotten/Than live to grow old loving you.”