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Electric Penguins

Goodbye from the Electric Penguins

(Psychonavigation; US: 27 Jun 2007; UK: 26 Sep 2006)

This trio makes some lovely sounds with a late ‘70s/early ‘80s experimental sensibility. Opener “Gelb” and instrumental “Transatlantic (Part Two)” are particularly stunning and mesmeric. All tracks were recorded mainly live, and weave vocals, vocoder, mellotron, moog, electric piano, Farfisa Organ, drum machine, Clavia Nord & Access Virus synthesizers, guitar, and bass into something so impressively palatable that the pre-teen Hisaishi/Miyazaki set could lap it up. The Electric Penguins were featured on NPR last month, they use a vocoder, the influences on their MySpace page are impeccable, and apparently their name is taken from Paul McCartney’s password to an apartment he had in the 1960s. All that is forgivable, but unless they have a master plan to do their career in reverse (fine by me) it’s reasonable to expect a debut album to have more energy than this polite affair. “Lonnie” and “Answer the Phone” show a rawer side, but there are some trite lyrics knocking around. Hopefully, the arch title will not prove prophetic.

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