GoGo Penguin
GoGo Penguin


3.5
great

Review

by Erwann S. CONTRIBUTOR (32 Reviews)
June 12th, 2020 | 42 replies


Release Date: 06/12/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: GoGo Penguin’s GoGo Penguin is GoGo Penguin GoGo Penguining

There's a point in a band's career when, as a listener, you know what you will get. Revocation will always deliver great thrash and Nils Frahm will similarly craft meditative modern classical pieces. GoGo Penguin lies in the same category. The Manchester nu jazz trio (piano, double bass and drums) rose to fame in 2014 thanks to v2.0 and its Mercury Prize nomination. The record epitomized the band's sound: jazz that draws influence from post-rock, electronic, trip-hop, rock and even minimal music. Since then, GGP did not stray away from this template and continued to drop great output throughout the years. Whether this remark drops or raises your interest, this self-tilted record successfully furthers the band's style, but without altering it much.

GoGo Penguin encapsulates the band’s soundscape: nu jazz tunes punctuated by minimalist passages and bombastic flashes. The greatest example of GGP's ethos is exemplified in early highlight "Atomiser". Unfurling their technical abilities, a UK garage beat dictates the rhythm while the piano is deluging its notes before a sudden change in tempo leads to a contemplative coda. This kind of exercise in dynamic has already happened in the band's catalogue, but they once again prove they are capable of making it engaging. Elsewhere, “Kora” is the theatre of electronic textures challenging the organic instrumentation, without the latter ever being less than the main focus. While I thoroughly enjoyed my ride through these tunes, an awful sense of deja vu slowly rose as I approached the end of the record. When my album listening was done, the conclusion was evident: it's a GoGo Penguin record.

Sure, these fine lads know how to write songs, play their instrument, and successfully bridge the organic and the electronic. But the overall lack of adventurousness is the main gripe I have with this album. While all tracks are enjoyable per se, the record falls in monotony territories and does not allow each of its tracks to be fully discernible. Likewise, the group's post-rock influence manifests itself not only in their sound, but also in their structure: while crescendocore sometimes is chastised for its formulaic loud/quiet/louder dynamic, GGP operate within the fast/slow/faster one and tend to fall into a too-easily-recognizable canon.

It's however worth mentioning that no moment in the record's 43 minutes is poorly executed. Those unfamiliar with the band might thus be impressed by large sonic palettes, engaging songwriting and rhythmically complex structures, but to the GGP connoisseur, this is just another great addition to their discography. This is a great record, consistently good, never bad nor amazing. It’s GoGo Penguin.



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user ratings (29)
3.6
great
related reviews

Man Made Object
recommended by reviewer
GoGo Penguin v2.0


Comments:Add a Comment 
dedex
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


7043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Quick write-up, thx to the dexbro for his prompt proofread

Stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/5dNyGCWbvGFcR2Zgad3cse?si=6YeyXByLQJyOH3AywAnWEw

Digging: Mudhoney - Superfuzz Bigmuff

Bedex
June 12th 2020


2606 Comments


aye

Digging: John Coltrane - Meditations

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


7043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

aye

ChoccyPhilly
June 12th 2020


13266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey I reviewed their other album. Was pretty disappointed with their previous effort so I'm game for something more similar to v2.0

Digging: A.A.L. (Against All Logic) - 2012-2017

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2020


3245 Comments


Featured for the summary alone.

I'm excited to give this a spin. I loved A Humdrum Star despite people thinking it was relatively ho-hum.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2020


7009 Comments


That summary is hecking beautiful

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2020


7009 Comments


As is everything beneath it

SteakByrnes
June 12th 2020


22637 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fuckin sweet summary lmao, this was a solid fun jam

ChoccyPhilly
June 12th 2020


13266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First run through and 3.5 sounds about right to me.

Still waiting for those tracks which are a tier above the rest, such as the likes of All Res, Break, Hopopono. They've got it in them but are far too prone to make 'pretty' sounding music which doesn't leave a lasting impact

Trifolium
June 12th 2020


22536 Comments


I've never been too big a fan of these guys, but I'm going to give this one a go later.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


20866 Comments


GoGo Penguin to the polls

ChoccyPhilly
June 12th 2020


13266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@tril would recommend v2.0 before this if it's your first time listening to these guys

dmathias52
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


1517 Comments


Oh man Neeka I knew that joke was coming

And I plan to check this purely based on the summary (although the rest of the review is also great)

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2020


20866 Comments


hehe c:

Trifolium
June 12th 2020


22536 Comments


I've got Man Made Object on CD, how does it compare to v2? And I think I checked Humdrum too, but I'm not sure.

ChoccyPhilly
June 12th 2020


13266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man Made Object does a lot more with its emotion but V2.0 flows very well and is cohesive from start to finish. it's a much more satisfying listen although it is a little more toned down in making a more grandiose sound but incorporates their electronic influences far better

bloc
June 12th 2020


64576 Comments


Automatically thought of Pingu, ahhh good times

Digging: Ultravox - Systems Of Romance

Trifolium
June 12th 2020


22536 Comments


Ah ok, I'll give that one a go then.
I think if I remember correctly I always wanted them to be just that tiny bit more jazzy than what they go for. A bit looser and groovier or something. It could also be that my need for this kind of music was very much saturated when I first got into them.
This new one makes me want to check where Pingu and I stand though.
Noot noot.

bloc
June 12th 2020


64576 Comments


Coincidentally saw a Thing/Pingu crossover on youtube yesterday, it was brilliant

https://youtu.be/wrZ7PnolbQ4

ChoccyPhilly
June 12th 2020


13266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If you aren't hooked by Garden Dog Barbecue, I'd be surprised. Very jazzy with a slick drum&bass backing



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