A lot has happened in the ten years that Jack Peñate has been away. Bowie is no longer with us, but his legacy of gender subversion lives on. Hip hop is outselling rock at a pace nobody could have predicted. And likely start-up Spotify has become, well…pretty popular. With all this and more, the boundaries of musical genre have melted away, leaving us free to flit wherever our ears desire, cherry-picking elements to create something of our very own. This lesson hasn’t been lost on Jack. ‘After You’ is something of a fever dream, an electric span of ideas that flit from one to the other.
One moment he is hiding under flowing gowns of gospel (‘Prayer’), the next he’s floating in the sky with diamonds, looking for a “spaceship to escape” (‘Loaded Gun’) - discernibly one that’ll take him to the middle-eastern rave that soundtracks ‘Round and Round’s skittish energy, or the late-night alleyway of ‘Murder’s’ pulsing prowl. ‘Cipralex’ might take a few more doses before it has quite the uplifting effect of its title, but what it lacks in instantaneousness, it makes up for in spaciousness. By the time we reach ‘Swept To The Sky’, his transformation from indie-pop upstart to artistic troubadour is complete - all it took was some time away, a little soul-searching, and a swell of dramatic piano. Jack - don’t leave it another decade mate.