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REVIEW - The Penny Antics - 'An Album!' (Album)

South Essex duo Lewis Hammond (guitar / vocals) and Shane Wood (drums / vocals) once again ply their noisy, energetic trade with their first full length album since 2015's 'Reminder'. With the current line-up now in situ for the last eight years and a wealth of gigging behind them, the new album 'An Album!' (yes, that is the title of the record!) brings this experience to the table on a set of tunes heavy on the punk and grunge and brimming with energy and attitude. It's an album at times unsettling both lyrically and sonically but enjoyably noisy (with the odd lighter touch) nonetheless.

While a mostly challenging and abrasive record, what lighter tones there are on the album come in the first half of the set. Album opener 'Three Piece Suit' rolls in on a shuffling drum beat and Tom Morello like guitar effects before settling into a riffing tune with shouty (but catchy) choruses and a 'Bleach' era Nirvana ambience. The album's anti-establishment tone is also set early on with the band haranguing the 'squares' of the world on the song. 'Sixteen Sick Teens' follows next with its 'soft / loud, verse / chorus' piling in to fine effect and possessing a fine guitar solo and another great chorus. The charging punk of 'Sheep' and 'Fake' follow, before the album takes a 'bit of a breather' with the acoustic led 'Happy' with its harmonies and almost 'dreamlike' feel to it - it shows that if the boys want to go in a different direction they are more than capable.

After this quieter interlude, the gloves come off for the rest of the album with an uncompromising, vitriolic set of songs - 'Petrol Bomb', Repeat The Week', Don't Worry About Your Music' and 'Don't Eat, Don't Sleep' - which both tonally and lyrically (explicit is a bit of an understatement for 'Repeat The Week' and 'Don't Worry About Your Music'!) never lets up with Lewis' corruscating guitar and vocals and Shane's kick-start, pounding drums pinning you up against walls. The album's closing instrumental 'Audio Nasty' is a slow, churning experimental piece - probably not to everybody's taste but showing The Penny Antics willingness to try different things.

'An Album!' is not for the faint-hearted! Lyrically combative and musically biting, the album punches and punches hard with its hard, punky sound and venomous lyrics and if occasionally it cleaves a little too close to Nirvana and their ilk, it is nonetheless an energy laden, driving album full of hard-edged songs. If you're looking for a set of noisy, vibrant tuneage then 'An Album!' won't disappoint!

'An Album!' should be out on the 12th July 2024 and available on the major digital sites.

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