Jack Penate – Everything Is New

A cool, considered piece of work that incorporates pretty much all of the current ‘hip’ genres and styles whilst still being accessible, and without the heavy whiff of pretension that comes with the majority of the bloggers’ favourites.

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‘Everything Is New’. Well Mr Peñate is certainly right on that count. Where his debut album ‘Matineé’ was a widely panned jangle pop record, of actually quite high quality, ‘Everything Is New’ is a cool, considered piece of work that incorporates pretty much all of the current ‘hip’ genres and styles whilst still being accessible, and without the heavy whiff of pretension that comes with the majority of the bloggers’ favourites. It leaps between afro-beat and dub whilst including bursts of synth, brass and whatever else happened to be lying around Epworth’s studio whilst recording happened. This album is a satisfying pop treat, that has sacrificed nothing in the songwriting department and has all of the ingredients necessary to get the critics on side.

If this has made it sound as though ‘Everything Is New’ is a messy and desperate attempt at cool from a previously derided artist then we apologise, for that couldn’t be further from the truth. Past single ‘Tonight’s Today’ is the best example of how cohesive Jack Peñate has managed to make the disparate influences that he’s been assimilating. There’s the dubby bass overlaid with a heavily reverbed keyboard whilst still leaving some room for handclaps. It’s a truly brilliant single but not the best overall song here. Opener ‘Pull My Heart Away’ has some great lyrics dealing with heartbreak and separation, with the chorus containing the line “if I never leave then I ruin yesterday.”

‘So Near’ and the album’s title track differ yet again from the aforementioned, having more of a dance feel. With these the melody is carried on high keyboard lines, supplemented by some delicate additional instrumentation. While the songs themselves seem unlikely to get play on the dancefloor, it’s influence on them is undoubted, and like last summer sounded perfect under the soundtrack of Vampire Weekend these songs will be perfect for this one (provided there’s some sun of course). The chant on ‘Let’s All Die’ of “out of the womb and into the tomb” is the only time that this album feels cheesy, but this is countered by the hip-hop influenced closer ‘Body Down’, which is pretty great, and the fuzzy guitar on ‘Give Yourself Away’.

Despite being only nine tracks long ‘Everything Is New’ doesn’t feel that much like a short album, yet because there are so few tracks and because the entire album can provide such easy listening we can see this album remaining in CD players/on playlists for multiple plays at a time. It’s so easy to let the sounds wash over you whilst at the same time being aware that what you’re listening to is a rather expertly constructed album. Either way, no matter your feelings on Jack Peñate previous to this, ‘Everything Is New’ is an album that pretty much anyone can enjoy.

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