This record is actually better when Piney Gir, A.K.A. Angela Penhaligon, doesn’t try too hard to rock.
An instant highlight of the record is the swinging “Nightsong,” a duet with someone called Simple Kid. There’s a certain “found sound” quality to it, as she makes use of some of the same clapped-out drum machine sounds that powered early Depeche Mode singles.
Other lovely moments include the candy corn “Greetings, Salutations, Goodbye,” the mournful, string-led “K-i-s-s-i-n-g” and “Janet Schmanet,” which is not a cover of the Rocky Horror song, but a dreamy tip of the hat to, among other things, The Phantom Tollbooth.
All the songwriting is not as strong, but it’s enchanting enough to make you wonder if more will grow. Now, if it were me tending the garden, I’d jettison some of the “lo-fi, DIY” quality and get her a proper producer. In fact, I’d probably beg Daniel Miller to do it. Some of these songs sound more like demos — but in the immortal words of Public Enemy, “They call ’em demos/But we ride limos too…”
I’ve used the word enchanting, and it’s appropriate for this record, which is more slowly intoxicating than immediately overpowering. This is a record that will grow on you, melodically powered rock ‘n roll (broadly defined) that’ll sound like old friends if the name Thompson Twins means anything to you.
Although the Thompsons managed a terrific cover of a classic rock song (The Beatles’ “Revolution”), and she can’t make much more than a distorted-vocal hash of “My Generation.”