Jack Peñate — After You [Expanded Edition] (2020)
•χ• Postmilleniální singer~songwriter, který převzal vliv od Housemartins a řady skupin předtím, než se znovu objevil s dojemným a vroucím electro~popem.
•χ• Zní to trochu opatrně a obsah připomíná béžovou pohovku na špičkové úrovni, takže vás nutí podceňovat ho do té míry, že se mísí s pozadím. Ovšem od třetí písně Round and Round se snad i Marcy Donelson rozhodl dát mu tu ½★ navíc. Po deseti letech jsou nové písně Jacka Peñata čitelné, duchovní ve smyslu rozjímání, ale je to nepochybně trochu složitější. Pokud Peñateovou ambicí bylo vygenerovat sound, který měl znít pocitově složitěji z hlediska zvládnutí studiové produkce a mít dlouhou životnost v jeho kariéře, pak lze s jistotou říci, že s After You tato ambice byla realizována. I potraviny jako ovesné vločky, hnědá rýže a celozrnný chléb mají v životě své místo.
•χ• Over a decade in the making, the album was produced in collaboration with Paul Epworth, Inflo and Alex Epton. ‘Murder’ is the second track to be taken from the album (following from ‘Prayer’), it’s a song of forgiveness and redemption and another indication of what to expect from the album, and is accompanied by a video directed by artistic collaborator Eddie Peake (who also created the album art) and shot on iPhone, the video was filmed in Dorset at Winspit Quarry.
•χ• Back after 10 years, Peñate’s tuneful new songs are a literate, spiritual exploration of the soul, but it’s undoubtedly a bit beige. If Peñate’s ambition was to be able to make a sound that sounded like a feeling felt, and to be able to master studio production, and to be able to have longevity in his career, then it’s safe to say that with After You, that ambition has been realised.
Born: Sept. 2, 1984 in Blackheath, London, England
Location: London, UK
Genre: Indie & Alternative
Album release: 29th November 2019
Record Label: XL Recordings
Duration: 40:25+40:42 => 81:07
01 Prayer 3:21
02 Loaded Gun 3:27
03 Round and Round 4:23
04 Cipralex 4:22
05 Murder 4:40
06 Gemini 3:05
07 Let Me Believe 4:18
08 GMT 4:14
09 Ancient Skin 3:53
10 Swept To The Sky 4:42
Disc 2: The Church Studio Session
01. Prayer 3:01
02. Loaded Gun 3:49
03. Round and Round 3:43
04. Cipralex 4:10
05. Murder 4:44
06. Gemini 3:03
07. Let Me Believe 4:09
08. GMT 3:49
09. Ancient Skin 3:37
10. Swept to the Sky 6:37
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson; Score: ★★★½
•χ• Following two albums of generally bouncy, soul~inflected indie pop that looked to ’80s movements such as the 2~Tone ska revival, sophisti~pop, and jangle pop for inspiration (2007’s Matinee and 2009’s Everything Is New), Londoner Jack Peñate decided to take a deep dive into the recording and production end of things in order to, as he saw it, better express his songwriting. No less than ten years and, per Peñate, over a thousand songs later, he re~emerges with After You.
•χ• Perhaps surprisingly, the album was co~produced by Peñate, Alex Epton (David Byrne, Holy Ghost!), Inflo aka Dean Josiah (the Kooks, Tom Odell), and Everything Is New producer Paul Epworth (Paul McCartney, Beck). Together, they significantly update his sound, opting for more expansive, choir~fortified arrangements and sleek electronics, bringing him into the home~studio era of electro~pop. Importantly, it still sounds like Peñate — ever catchy and hummable — if a more serious, didactic version of himself informed by world events in the interim decade.
•χ• These shifts are well~reflected on the dramatic opener, “Prayer,” a gospel~charged anthem that layers electric guitar, distorted keyboard timbres, fluttering strings, and spacy interjections before landing on its spacious, clap-along chorus. This quality of having extraneous manipulated sounds and effects as well as room to breathe is persistent throughout an album where listeners will likely be able to distinguish most all of the voices in play while, at the same time, some curiosity is typically throwing off perfect symmetry. In another seeming contradiction, though Peñate’s voice breaks as he wails and sighs “I need a little prayer” over choir~style backing singers, the song somehow comes across as distinctly restrained. An unofficial sister song to “Prayer,” the menacing “Murder” appears midway through the track list and puts a different spin on the church tent revival, combining it with club tropes like blurting synth tones, a syncopated bassline, and four on the floor. More~atmospheric, reflective tracks like “GMT” and “Loaded Gun” still have that articulate glitchiness to them as well as soaring, lyrical vocal lines. If there’s an outlier here, it’s “Gemini,” an elegantly unsettling track that features the brutal poem “The Rhyme of the Flying Bomb,” written by Peñate’s grandfather, Mervyn Peake, and read with Shakespearian finesse by his uncle Fabian. Both fatalistic and romantic, “Swept to the Sky” closes the album with a dramatic death scene.
•χ• Arguably heavy~handed but regrettably timely, even if allegorical, After You marks an ambitious return for the long~absent musician, one that ultimately rewards with musicality.