Penguin Prison

Lost in New York

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Picking up where he left off on Penguin Prison's eponymous electro-pop debut, 2010's Williamsburg, Brooklyn-meets-1983-synth pop -- often to an uncanny degree -- on Chris Glover's follow-up, Lost in New York. Though some tracks are slower than others, like the clubby semi-ballad "Caught in a Daze," it's got an all-dance-all-the-time feel, with distinctly early-'80s bleep-bloop synth sounds, spacious, easy-to-digest arrangements, and strong melodies under a warm tenor. The net display of these elements, as well as the sleek production, is reminiscent of early Howard Jones a lot of the time, but with a darker vocal delivery and perhaps dosed with a touch of earliest Prince (think "Controversy"). It's a slightly groovier context for those weighty if glacé electronic timbres, a recipe that's resulted in the project being likened to LCD Soundsystem, though they're unlikely to be confused for one another. The album's first single, "Calling Out," was co-written with electronic duo Oliver and features staccato keyboards, angsty lyrics on verses, and Glover's falsetto on a memorable melody in the chorus. Several tracks, like the syncopated "Show Me the Way," offer rhythmic guitar, adding texture to dance beats and vibrating synths. "Don't Tell Me How It Ends" is a standout with funky electric guitar and more percussive attacks than elsewhere. MNDR's Amanda Warner and Peter Wade co-wrote the groovy "Never Gets Old" with Glover, a fitting title for the retro-instrument voices and poppy style of the song and, in general, of the album. (It also may or may not be coincidence that the record's opening lyrics are "Turn it back/Now spin around/Can we go back a second/To the way it was back then.") With other boxes ticked, if Lost in New York has a weakness it's that the songs being to resemble one other as the album progresses, but with a majority of the track list sounding like singles, listeners would be best advised to put on some dancing boots and maybe some leg warmers, and sparkle along in time.

blue highlight denotes track pick