Penny’s Pet Dragonfly are from Las Vegas. A reserved modern rock band coming out of the city where anything goes? Might seem like a diamond in a coal bin. Yet, outside of the city where casinos and large scale productions rule the nightlife, Penny’s Pet Dragonfly don’t sound much different than your average alt-rock band. Sort of a big fish in a small pond thing.
During the first few runs through this CD, I was confused. The CD sounded like it was on repeat when it wasn’t. It felt like I kept hearing the same songs over and over again. I attributed my confusion to that fuzzy time when you are getting acquainted with a CD. But upon consulting the track listing, everything finally made sense. In a Frail Daydream includes three album tracks at the end of the CD in their edited-for-radio form. So what you’ve got here is four songs recorded proper, three live tracks and three radio edits of songs already on the album. I’m not sure what that’s all about.
The press release gives reference points such as Radiohead, Live and the Smashing Pumpkins, But like most band comparisons, they are most sensibly wrong. (Note of advice to bands trying to break into the music business: do not compare yourself to bigger bands that you are trying to emulate. It usually has a reverse effect than what you intended when people learn that you don’t really sound like the artists you mentioned. Plus this is your music, not theirs. Tell us what yours sounds like.)
Aside from public relations blunders, the music is generic. Their trite lyrics, though well sung, make their passion come off sounding flimsy and two-dimensional. The modern rock guitars/bass/drum combo (with no hint of deviation from this pattern), though technically good, sounds uninspired and tired. The melodies are too clean, too slick and overproduced. (Even the live tracks have no humanistic quality to them).
Though I’m most positive the tracks were written, played and sung with desire, passion and emotion, the over-polished recording strips the music of all of these desirable qualities. This leaves a soulless package, clean and easily digestible.
File somewhere amongst the enormous number of mellow alternative/modern rock bands. Solid, but not unique.
// Notes from the Road
"Philip Glass, the artistic director of the Tibet House benefits, celebrated his 80th birthday at this year's annual benefit with performances from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Brittany Howard, Sufjan Stevens and more.READ the article