Young Jack Penate changes my mind. - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
January 15, 2008
I've been waiting to see the young Londoner Jack Penate (is it possible this guy is only twenty-two?) for awhile now; ever since I came across a 7" of his that the always exceptional XL record label (Tapes 'n Tapes, Vampire Weekend, Thom Yorke) put out last year.

The first song that I heard from that 7" by this then unknown, generally optimistic, lad was "Spit at Stars." Immediately after listening I was all, "Man, this really isn't my thing at all." But then I found myself listening to that track again... and again... and again... all the while reminding myself that "this wasn't my thing at all." Now, some months and many plays of his proper full-length debut album later, I believe Jack Penate to be a future heavyweight hit-maker, and I further believe that his unique brand of indie-pop-rockabilly with a good dose of soul is sure to take over America (or at least Delaware). Even if, like me, this genre is normally not your thing, Penate's music is so damn catchy you may need to make an exception. And he doesn't sound like he's twenty-two at all.

Now, I've never, ever been a rockabilly guy, but Jack Penate might be my gateway drug to the genre (but don't count on it). His songs are so completely hook-heavy that I'm seriously considering purchasing some pomade and rethinking my stance on Brian Setzer (but don't count on it). Not all of his songs are happy and make you want to drink martinis, sometimes he has his slow and low and soulful moments (like the future middle school slow dance jam, "My Yvonne"), but Penate is at his best when he's up and you can you almost hear his clean guitars grin as they're being strummed.

Apparently the secret has long been out about Penate in his native England. I gather he and his band are huge in the U.K. since I saw he has played the Reading Festival. Everyone who plays Reading is big like Radiohead, right? And they all roll around in the mud? Anyway, XL is also putting out that debut full-length of his called Matinee (it's really great) here in the States. Here's hoping it helps carry some of his hometown momentum across the Pond.

Remember all that stuff I said about how Jack Penate is sorta rockabilly? Well I should also say that sometimes his songs remind me a lot of that band, Dexys Midnight Runners. (I liked "Come On, Eileen" and don't say you didn't, too.)

So yeah, Brian Setzer meets Dexy Midnight Runners. But Penate's much better than I make him sound.


Jack Penate plays Mercury Lounge, on Tuesday, January 22nd, and Union Pool, on Wednesday, January 23rd.


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