Pennan Brae – Arcade
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Label: Independent / Celluloid FM
Format: Album | Digital
Duration: 39:52 | 10 tracks
Genre: Rock’n’Roll / Indie Rock
Origin: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Lucky Number 13
With the ten-track album „Arcade“, Vancouver’s Pennan Brae has released his thirteenth album within fifteen years. Such a frequency in output might give the impression of restlessness, pressure or hastiness. But if you know the music by Pennan Brae, those words will not be among your associations with this release. And so, full-length release number thirteen is another coherent beautiful collection of relaxed Rock’n’Roll tunes for the pool, for easy rides, or for enjoying the sun – no matter what time of the day. „Arcade“ was recorded at Blue Light Studio by Pennan Brae (vocals and guitars), Alison Jenkins (harmonies), Kaj Falch-Nielsen (bass) and Edward Whelan (drums). Bass player Falch-Nielsen was also the co-producer of the album alongside Brae, and he was furthermore responsible for the mastering.
Flickering Lights and Beeps
Nostalgia sure is one of the elements that define the soundscape of „Arcade“ Fortunately, Pennan Brae’s thirteenth longplayer is far from being another dusty „Back-in-the-Days“-Rock release, but we will come back to that later. Ostensibly, „Arcade“ is fueled by the same energy that helped Stranger Things become such a big success. This is not about other dimensions, alien life forms or horror. The talk is of a post-modern era that is often referred to as the 70s and the 80s. There is something indescripably special about the cultural impact of 70s and 80s Rock’n’Roll together with the colours and sounds of arcade machines. And this is exactly where Pennan Brae’s new album takes us to: it is the idea of unlimited freedom and chances that covibrate with the musical and visual features of „Arcade“.
If you have ever played video games, you will know that levelling up needs dedication and work – or cheating, but we will not tolerate that here. And since masters do not fall from the sky, the pure combination of 70s and 80s style Rock’n’Roll and pre-internet time references do not make a good album alone. Pennan Brae’s „Arcade“ is a fantastic album since the Rock’n’Roll ingredients have masterfully been spiced and stirred up with passion, dedication and some deep love for Rock music. Like that, Pennan Brae rids the good old nostagic sound of all the dust, and presents a polished, shiny and deeply pleasant sound. The tunes on „Arcade“ are light years away from the machismo, the tough guy or thug image, the beer-soaked motorcycle jackets of cocky Rock’n’Roll.
Joy-riding through Time
The sound on „Arcade“ is warm, friendly, and it is full of gentle invitations to keep on moving. No matter if you like to dance, to work out, to ride, drive or fly – Pennan Brae provides you with the soundtrack for any movement. And instead of pushing or shoving, the sounds on „Arcade“ are the gentle invitation to dance which accepts a No for an answer.
„Arcade“ is deeply harmonic – not least because of the amazing backing vocals by Alison Jenkins. Another dominant feature that heavily contributes to the beauty of this album is the clean guitar sound – every strum contains a little sun beam. And speaking of harmony, the warm bass sound emphasizes this sunny sound while it joyfully hops across the chill drum rhythms.
After all, this is Rock’n’Roll, and it is the Rock’n’Roll we need. Pennan Brae’s thirteenth longplayer is a timeless album, a gigantic and coherent anthem for the wanderlusty, the passionate, and the loving.