Brixton-based Death and The Penguin are Best Before Records’ latest signing.
Their new EP, Accidents Happen, begins with previously released single ‘Snuffed Out’; a song that instantly makes me feel nostalgic. It reminds me of old Idlewild songs, if covered by At The Drive-In. It’s catchy, but fairly middle of the road. However, Accidents Happen really takes off with ‘Space 1998’. Instantly you can hear their math influences mixed with the noisier stuff like Death From Above 1979. Again, the song is incredibly catchy, and could even be described as a pop song in some aspects.
‘An Opening’ is next, a short chilled out song which works incredibly well as an intro to my favourite song ‘Strange Times’. I don’t mean to do ‘An Opening’ a disservice, as it’s a nice little song, but the juxtaposition between that and ‘Strange Times’ works so well. ‘Strange Times’ has previously featured on a Big Scary Monster’s compilation, and it’s as strong as anything they have to offer.
‘Bitumen’ carries on the EP very strongly, containing a riff that would make CKY jealous. The easiest way to describe ‘Bitumen’ is a battle between The Black Keys and Foals. It’s interesting, and very, very good. The EP finishes with a cover of PJ Harvey’s ‘The World That Maketh Murder’. It’s a perfect closer, and a very good cover. Not being a particular fan of PJ Harvey, I hesitate to say it’s better than the original, but Death and The Penguin definitely make it their own.
You can imagine Death and The Penguin supporting bands like Kasabian – but don’t hold it against them. It’s a very strong opening EP, and I look forward to hearing more stuff from them. I feel a full length album would be the best way to enjoy them. A limit of five original songs seems to hinder them, and doesn’t allow their full strength to come out. If you’re a fan of other Best Before Records bands, give them a listen. There are definite similarities to The Chapman Family, but these guys do it so much better.
– Alex Ryan