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We Plug To You… Professor Penguin – Planes

I really need to start making sure I keep up to date with the music on our sister blog, Conversations but you know how it is right? You get busy with school and work and with life, you just can’t keep track of the updates and you miss out on some pretty amazing music. Case in point is this next band… You see, I came across this album yesterday while actioning the emails I had received over the last few days and I listened to it until I fell asleep last night. Beautiful music brought forth by London 9-piece band, Professor Penguin.
 I am normally quick to judge an artist/group by their name and to say that I was shocked to hear such amazing sounds from this group of musicians who call themeselves Professor Penguin is a huge understatement. Of course, I then took to Google – as you do – and I find that we at We Plug are no strangers to the band. So without further ado, I have the ultimate pleasure of introducing to you,Professor Penguin, with their debut offering Planes which is set to be released on the 9th of April via Gentoo Recordings.
From its origins as Jonny Abraham’s one man project, Professor Penguin has evolved into an exciting collective of young musicians who are enjoying great success on London’s live music circuit and massive support from the likes of BBC Radio 1BBC 6 Music and XFM. They are a well-oiled machine and everything from the first track to the the very last track on Planes supports this. With live guitars, bass, strings and lush drum patterns, they are able to create songs and make them appear to be orchestrated by a conductor with a fiddle and everything. It is quite frankly genius and very rich.
Interestingly, every song on this 10-track album begins with a “P”. The first track on the album and the band’s lead single is titled “Pilot”, which I really love. The single is what garnered them so much media attention such that they have already been compared to the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Bon Iver BUT the first song I will be sharing with you is their second official single and my favorite song off of this album, it’s called “Pirate”.

 

With such beautiful, heartfelt vocals and glorious harmonies driving this song and backed by lush acoustic guitar strings, it’s really hard not to fall in love with “Pirate“. Plus there is something about this song that makes it more than just your typical Indie/Folk song, there seems to be elements of Pop and Soul music that shine through on “Pirate” and these genre elements manage not to clash against one another. There is a B-side to the “Pirate” single titled “Paper” and unfortunately, it is not on the album but is also beautifully well done so let’s just hear it, shall we?
 

It is common knowledge that simpler is on many occasions better and this is exactly what I think of when I hear this next song titled “Past” – the arrangement of soft guitar, keyboards and vocals combine together excellently to create what is simply a great record. On this song, Jonny sings sombrely about someone who seems unsure of what they want to do in their relationship, whether to come or to go or to “go to come back“. We can all relate right? The almost ethereal 30-second instrumentation at the 1:17 minute mark is simply divine and certainly gives it a different dimension. Listen to “Past” below…
 

As there is a past, there is also a present and on “Present” – the next song on Planes and one we hugely recommend – Jon is talking about the complexity of time and he expresses in words what I’ve spent countless wasted hours pondering. He instructs us to “stop making things up and start making things happen” over a milieu that begins with splendidly simple guitar strings before progressively building into a combination of lush drum patterns and string arrangements. Let’s leave our delusions behind and start making our visions happen, we are being told in no uncertain terms.
 

The song you just heard above – named after the album – is titled “Planes 1”. Backed by uniformed keyboard arrangements and accompanied by very captivating solo string arrangements to bring the song to a thrilling end, Jon’s vocals are once again the focal point here and for good reason too as his vocals and compelling lyrics richly fill up the purposed spaces left empty by the musical milieu. Much like “Past” (and “Present” that follows it), “Planes 1” has an accompanying song on Planestitled “Planes 2” which is as pure and awesome, an instrumental song you will here all year. I feel quite bad for not sharing it with you but that only means that you need to go and purchase the album when it comes out on April 9.

One problem that Professor Penguin might face is the conception that they do not make songs that appeal to the masses or mainstream audience and before you invade the comments section in protest, let me explain. The songs on this album are clever and intelligent songs that are seemingly for thinkers… I mean, think about it, they titled a song “Pterodactyl”. Most people including myself need to go into the dictionary to find out what that means and then subsequently, try and figure out what the song then means. Nevertheless, that should neither be here nor there because the fact is this is GOOD MUSIC.

I could go on and on about how good this band is but I’d rather not, I want to hear what you think. Are these songs as beautiful as I think they are? I am wowed by the effortlessness in the continuation from one song to the other on Planes, how laid back and mellow this record is, the drops, the horns, the intimate feel of these songs. I mean I am wowed by all I hear on this record and it is such a great feeling to still be wowed in this music business I tell you.

There’s no spin here, the music sells it self. Support the movement. Just Do It.

Keep Tabs on Professor Penguin: Website // Facebook // Soundcloud // Twitter

Till Next Time,

Peace, Love and Good Music

Neefemi

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