Monday, June 22

Jack Peñate- 'Everything Is New'

. Monday, June 22

He emerged amidst a flurry of hype and shaking feet and over a few singles built up a reputation the press were just itching to destroy. So when Jack Peñate released his debut record ‘Matinee’ in 2007 the critics ripped him a new hole to store his peaked hats. That plus the acutely observed pastiche record ‘LDN Is A Victim’ saw the 23 year old Peñate facing a musical no mans land. ‘Matinee’ was far from a failure though both musically and chart wise. Peaking at number 7 it featured fantastic rockabilly pop hits and an achingly gorgeous ballad introducing the world to the Grammy award winning Adele. It’s a shame then that much of the preamble to ‘Everything Is New’ has revolved around distancing Peñate from that debut record. He was 23 when it was released, where people expecting it to be timeless and unique? Still, Everything is New is both record title and mission statement in 2009 and it’s fair to say that the check shirted boy spitting at stars is long forgotten.

Where previously things felt centralised and London-centric now Peñate is like Phileas Fogg, jetting off to Brazil one moment then up to Philadelphia and New Orleans the next. A sense of the tropical and exotic permeates every second of ‘Everything Is New’ to the point you can practically taste the pineapple in your mouth. From the soca drums and trumpets that blast in a celebratory fashion it’s a crisp and bright sound, even if it does at times come across a bit ‘Mambo No.5’. The problem with Peñate writing a debut album so entrenched in its geographical positioning is that moving away on the follow up feels like he is just on holiday. So the attempts and funk and soul on the likes of ‘So Near’ and ‘Be The One’ feel tokenistic and touristy- “Hey, take my photo by the bongo’s- that’ll look great on the fridge.” This is ‘Everything...’s ultimate flaw, it feels a bit fake and a bit cheesy. When Peñate came out in 2007 some catty comments likened his appearance to that of George Michael, well this album is definitely his ‘Club Tropicana’.

Having said that ‘Everything Is New’ is not beyond redemption. Genuinely uplifting in places it will make great friends with the sunshine and festivals and ‘Tonight’s Today is a real contender for single of the year. Elsewhere the rueful abandon of ‘Give Yourself Away’ is infectious and the soulful yearning of ‘Pull My Heart Away’ makes for an effective opening. At just nine tracks long and with the vague whiff over over-production courtesy of Paul Epworth the listener is left feeling none the wiser as to Peñate’s state of mind, his emotions or feelings. He’s starting a party and that’s all well and good but at times it feels like nobody else is invited.


Bookmark and Share



Post a Comment