Jack Peñate: After You review – expansive third album

(XL)

Jack Peñate’s 2007 debut, Matinée, with its scrappy, jangly indie guitar pop, was a product of its time. Its follow-up, 2009’s Everything Is New, recalibrated the Londoner’s profile to that of a more serious, refined dance-pop artist. Following that record’s acclaim, Peñate took a step back from the limelight, and has spent the past decade learning how to produce music himself.

Indeed, his return on After You showcases Peñate’s own high-end production values (with some help from Paul Epworth, Inflo and Alex Epton). This isn’t a release that bows to zeitgeisty sounds, but instead aims, in somewhat hit-and miss-fashion, at timeless songwriting. The sprawling cosmic delicacy of Loaded Gun feels reminiscent of Bowie; the Beatles are referenced at their most spiritual via slightly eye-roll-inducing sitar on the otherwise sweet Cipralex.

Amid melancholy introspection are propulsive splashes of gospel, glossy strings and sax, plush,airy keys and intricate percussion nodding to jungle and acid house; and a reading of a poem by Mervyn Peake – Peñate’s grandfather – over beautifully ornate piano on Gemini. Broadly speaking, After You succeeds as a rich, expansive set of sophisticated classic pop – but, unlike Peñate’s early work, it feels somewhat irrelevant to 2019.

Watch the video for Murder by Jack Peñate

Contributor

Tara Joshi

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
William Tyler: Goes West review – expansive, meditative Americana
(Merge)

Kitty Empire

27, Jan, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Bear Hands: You’ll Pay for This review – the not-so-difficult third album
(Spensive Sounds)

Ally Carnwath

27, Nov, 2016 @8:00 AM

Article image
Hozier: Wasteland, Baby! review – catchy second album
(Rubyworks/Island)

Damien Morris

03, Mar, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Julia Jacklin: Crushing review – ghostly, rollicking second album
(Transgressive)

Emily Mackay

24, Feb, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Kelsey Lu: Blood review – absorbing, astonishing debut album
(Columbia)

Tara Joshi

21, Apr, 2019 @7:00 AM

Article image
Rita Ora: Phoenix review – perfectly fine second album
(Warner)

Tara Joshi

25, Nov, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
Neil Young: Homegrown review – desolate lost breakup album
Young’s ditched 1975 album is one for completists only

Neil Spencer

20, Jun, 2020 @3:00 PM

Article image
Iklan: Album Number 1 review – impressively taut electronica
This collective with connections to Young Fathers and Soho offer up a bold, fat-free debut

Phil Mongredien

08, Nov, 2020 @3:00 PM

Article image
Shura: Nothing’s Real review – a properly curated album
(Polydor)

Michael Cragg

10, Jul, 2016 @6:59 AM

Article image
Fredo: Third Avenue review – honest, gritty debut album
(RCA)

Tara Joshi

03, Feb, 2019 @8:00 AM