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Penfold "Our First Taste of Escape" CD

Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005 @ 12:23pm » permalink

Penfold - Our First Taste of EscapeFor my money, the general genre of emo/indie rock was absolutely at its peak in the 90's, and has suffered a pretty drastic downfall since that timeframe. However, there are occasional outfits that come along and really recapture the affecting power of those classic days, and Penfold was without a doubt one of those select few bands that kept the true aesthetic of that niche alive into the present decade – and created a downright incredible album in the process.

Formed in New Jersey in 1997, Penfold played an incredibly beautiful yet dark, textured form of what I've always referred to as "emo/indie rock" simply for lack of a better term. Technically that is the category that this music would fall into, but it's so much more than that… On the band's sole full-length, 2002's "Our First Taste of Escape", the song structures seem basic on the surface, but there's a great deal of subtle detail and layering underneath. Guitar lines weave together against flighty basslines and fluid drum patterns, moods shift from calm and somber to energetic and oddly catchy, two amazing vocalists seamlessly trade off lead duties without a hitch… it's just wonderful material. Some of the rhythms border on heavy post-hardcore grooves; sporadically a jagged or discordant chord progression will make an appearance; and of course there are tons of smooth, flowing clean passages (at times layered with acoustic guitars or keyboards). You just can't lose, and the gorgeously flawless production and highly impressive packaging simply seal the deal. If you're a fan of related genres this is an essential release, and easily ranks among the finest such records in the post-90's age.

Penfold "The Secret Nine"
Penfold "The Opportune Moment, Fate, Confidence and an Encounter"
Penfold "Our First Taste of Escape"

Unfortunately, Penfold called it a day in 2003, and both their debut "Amateurs & Professionals" EP and the full-length have been extremely hard to find in recent years. I used to get loads of emails about where to get this stuff, and while both CD's were available from CD Baby at one point (they'll allegedly be "coming back in stock soon"), for now? Good luck.

Three of the band's former members went on to form The Morai – who, again unfortunately, just recently broke up after releasing their debut EP (which I still need to grab). What can I say? I really hate the fact that so many amazingly talented bands simply fall apart for whatever reason. This is the hideous world that we live in. At least we have some recorded documents to remember them by.

5 Comments...

  1. i have the first cd if anyone wants a copy of it, its a pretty great cd. undoubtledly for the sad emo heart in everyone. however, watching these kids live was pretty hard to bear though, although i can enjoy them plenty relaxin around the house, but seeing them live was almost a coma inducing production.

  2. chadster says:

    AMAZING bands, amazing CDs

    Good job reinvoking this band's name :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    brought back this memory

    burn the priest
    boy sets fire
    dillinger escape plan
    penfold

    gilday garage, 97

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey!

    I wanted to leave a message or something before when i saw that you were kind of cencelling the aversion-site. For some reason I didn't but this gives me the opportunity to do so. I've read your reviews for a cuople of years now and they've introduced me to a load of bands that I might have found out about anyway but probably not. Penfold is one of those bands. Ever since I read you're review I've been hooked. Luckily I was able to order both cds before they went out of stock. Just wanted to thank you for getting me into the band!

    Check out the Moirai cd, its definetely worth it!

    Sebastian (Sweden)

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is timely…. apparently there is a reunion. http://www.penfoldmusic.com

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