Debut LPs can be wonderful things. They can also be dire. Jack Penate (JP) releases his debut ‘Matinee’ on Oct 10th and I’m curious as to just what this quirky monkey can come up with.
Well it’s a peculiar mix from the outset. Resounding The Strokes, The Proclaimers and The Style Council all at once can surely be no easy task. But JP does it effortlessly and pleasingly. Starting off with what reminds me of ‘we Hate it when Our Friends Become Successful’ by Morrissey, despite its sublime xylophone, quietly and consistently running throughout the track. Not the best start, though there’s time yet!
Echoing ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ with an odd lounge feel entwined into its fabric, this track, with it’s Dirty Projectors like backing vocals, actually gets the LP up and running .
A disappointing and rambling song that’s admittedly got a catchy swagger inspired and immediate vocal to bounce along the all too subtle guitar, sets alarm bells ringing. But, with the energy of the recording making them sound miles away, there’s something, some kind of spell being woven here…
Bleeding in slowly to escalate into ragga shaped realms of great potential, this song then goes on to distract the ear with a song about saying goodbye at the train station. A situation familiar to most, yes, but isn’t it a bit tired now? I’m in a band, I’ve wrote an unused song about the very same thing, as countless others have I’m sure, so to include such predictable subject matter over a track as increasingly intriguing as this seems a bit of a waste.
A Style Council re-work of Blurs ‘Charmless Man’ follows beneath a too high pitch JP vocal that repels instead of engages.
An imaginative backdrop of sound supports a somewhat baffling narrative on the next track.
‘Oh, woe is me’…everybody! This slower and more emotive track deceives you with a second rate intro before swooning majestically mid way, taking the track into some kind of smooth serenity. “It’s very nice” (but not wafer thin)!
More typical JP follows, offering no diversity or surprise, just an album filler of a track.
Hurray! We have the LPs highlight. Warm ambience carries the sentiment driven and sublimely sincere vocal here, matched only by the equally effective multi layered backing vocals. It’s a perfect balance of JP quirkiness and cleverness and is, for me, a must hear track. Well done Jack!
A Jam replicating song with an amazingly extravagant outro features a great sing-along vocal…’I lost my head, when I found my heart’… cunning choice for a single there!
Happy, happy, joy, joy! Doom and gloom prevail on another typical sounding JP song that’s an odd choice for an LP closer considering its buoyant vitality throughout.
A secret track redundantly revisits earlier LP efforts, which at least avoids the LP ending on a downer.
All in all, it’s a great album with just a few low points amidst the many individual moments waiting to attract and to allure.