Penny Blacks are an Edinburgh-based folkie-rock outfit whose sound revolves around the vocals of frontman Jason Ogden. This is unfortunate, considering Ogden lacks a voice that is compelling or even memorably quirky. Songs range from uninspired midtempo numbers like “You’ll Never Know” and “Heaven Help Your Heart” to lukewarm tunes like “She’s Losing Herself”, “Homefire Ashes” and “Maybe You Should Get Out”.
A couple slightly more vigorous tunes enliven the proceedings slightly—“Things Can’t Stay the Same” and “The Winding Comet Tail” are probably the bounciest songs on display—but we’re talking mightily small degrees of difference. Every so often you encounter a band that is so middle of the road, you wonder what compelled anyone to commit the tunes to tape. Such is the case here. There is a degree of basic competence, but very little that rises above that. This is music that manages to be forgettable even as you’re listening to it.