Emperor Penguin – Soak up the Gravy
Last year, Emperor Penguin gave us one of 2019’s best power pop albums. Thank to EP, we’re starting the year off right with another winner. Soak up the Gravy is a sonic stew, a recipe consisting of all the finest bands of yesteryear mixed together with more than a dash of the band’s original, secret sauce.
When I say the finest bands, I mean exactly that. One listen and you’ll hear not only elements of The Beatles but the energy and brilliant harmonies of The Buzzcocks and XTC. And that’s just for starters.
“Hello Picasso” starts things off at a frenetic pace with a psyche-pop twist. It’s the perfect treatment for the subject matter. The spacy “Go Guitargonauts” is a blast from the Batman like opening to the B movie background. The classic 60’s British sound of “What’s Come Over Me” is simply irresistible.
“Katie’s Only Trending” is the best Buzzcocks song since, well, Pete Shelley and company recorded A Different Kind of Tension. Things slow down a bit with the mid tempo “Brand New Yesterday”, a radio friendly slice of pop that feels just right when placed amongst a collection of very eclectic tunes. A similar thing can be said for the very jangly “You’ll Be the Death of Me”, another pure pop nugget.
XTC fans will go ga-ga over “Flaming June”, one of my favorites on Soak up the Gravy. If Andy Partidge had wandered into the Beatles sessions at Abbey Road, this is what I imagine the results might have been. Another favorite is the Sweet inspired “Unman, Wittering and Zigo”. I haven’t had this much fun listening to a record since “Blockbuster”.
Emperor Penguin are Neil Christie (Guitar, Vocals), Nigel Winfield (Guitar, Vocals), JT (Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, Harmonica), and Richard Wilson (Drums, Piano).