I have been listening to this CD solidly since it's arrival, and there is little doubt that it is a grower. Still, I must confess that despite my appreciation of the Red Book, there is no escaping a nagging and persistent tug of disappointment. This is a good album, but not (in my opinion) a great one. In deed, if I could do half-stars under this review system it would be a 3.5 out of 5.
Of course the son of Penguin Cafe is a different beast to the original orchestra, and that is how it should be. I don't mind the more intense, introverted and predominantly post-classical style that Jeffes Jnr is pursuing over the playful, folk/world fusions of the original outfit, but I do miss the melodies and hooks. This album has even less of the latter than the first new-look 'Penguin Cafe' record of a couple of years back.
As such, the Red a Book is a strong mood piece, but one very much in need of a melodic jolt. Buy it by all means, but don't expect the kind of joyful abandonments of yore. This really is a very different type of cafe, one that is far more muted.