Most helpful positive review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This year's biggest surprise!
on 20 July 2009
I don't review on Amazon very often but this album is something worth writing about. My previous opinion of Penate, I confess, was ambivolent at best.
The aptly titled 'Everything Is New' brings something completely different to the table. It's hard to believe it comes from the imagination of the same person who bored me to death two years ago with yawning mockney acoustic pop blah.
The album opens with the ethereal, pounding "Pull My Heart Away", which perfectly sets the tone for the delights to come. This, along with many of the following tracks is a very heart on sleeve account of making a fresh start and taking chances.
The religious allusions on 'Be The One' are also a recurring theme. Again, there is a throbbing beat and fantastic instrumentation that just has you hooked from the outset. Even the catchy break towards the end of the track gives it stand-out appeal.
Tonight's Today, which has a heady, almost tribal undercurrent, is inspired by Penate's all night partying. I read one interview where he said he'd been out for so long he saw a clock with 4 on the dial and had no idea whether it was 4am or 4pm.
The Balearic beats and catchy hooks continue with the title track, Everything Is New. The melting hawaiian guitar, hand claps and harmonies meld together perfectly. "Dance Away Defeat..." Penate joyously wails, and you can't help but move along with the rhythm. It conjours images of sweaty South American beach parties under the setting sun.
So Near combines happy clappy with techno beats and twinkly guitars and gets better with every listen.
The pace slows for Every Glance, (with Adele backing). Again, Penate's sighing vocals are given plenty of sultry echo and depth. Every Glance is one of the more lyrically sucessful tracks on the album and gives a clear idea of Penate's not-quite-fully-realised potential as a songwriter.
The pace picks up again for the toe-tapping Give Yourself Away, where Penate almost yells "I dare you to do it" to a sexy, Brazilian rumba-esque backing track.
Lets All Die is a chirpy little number but the rather transparent lyrics and weak structure let it down slightly. Epworth's influence redeams it, though, with shouty backing vocals and lots of noisy guitars to add interest.
Body Down, the closing track, is a departure from the rest of the album, although it has the same depth and hypnotic quality. It reminds me of a Victorian nursery rhyme set to a slightly fuzzy piano, and the crashing symbols and sudden key changes give it a haunting and mellifluous appeal.
This could have been a car crash album and must have felt like a huge risk for Penate. He couldn't possibly have pulled it off better, though, as every track is completely infused with his new-found sense of bravery and adventure.
This is a fantastic second album, full of enigmatic, exuberant, uninhibited tracks.