Introducing | Death and the Penguin
Beer in hand, sun shining, and music blaring; it was in the middle of a Bristol-based alternative-music festival, ten minutes from cheddar gorge, when I first met London’s Death and the Penguin.
Who they are: Tobias, Chris, Tim & Andy
Who they sound like: Marvins Revolt, The Tupolev Ghost, Minus The Bear, Biffy Clyro
Wind the clock back eight months, to August 2013. It’s 20 odd degrees, I’m in a field, there’s a break between bands and it’s time for a drink. Standing at the merch tent at Bristol’s now-extremely popular ArcTanGent festival – the dusty ground filled with the passing feet of Tera Melos fans, Oceansize t-shirt wearers and self-confessed math-rock scholars – I’m introduced to Andy, Toby, and Chris, who are in the process of putting together an EP for release. Presenting themselves as three members of a London based four-piece called Death and the Penguin, we talk music, share a beer, chat shit and later go our separate ways into the festival. One of the many pleasant experiences of that weekend last August.
A chance encounter, and one that I remember relatively well, but it was only when I received an email from the band, a few months back, that I was finally able to put a sound to the three people I’d met. And thank fuck, they sounded brilliant.
It’s hard. It’s really hard. When I hear music I don’t like, from new, fresh-face bands, it’s not a nice thing to experience. I love writing about good music, about bands I enjoy listening to, and that, hopefully others will too. But when bands send music over that they’ve poured their sweat and blood into, that they are so passionate about that they are often blinded by its true sound – it’s really hard. You know, who the hell am I to tell them what they should and shouldn’t be doing? Who am I to tell them it’s “not very good” or that I didn’t enjoy it? It’s bloody hard. And that’s precisely why it’s all the more rewarding when bands like Death and the Penguin show up, who blow you away with great music, right from the word go.
Death and the Penguin are, in essence, a great rock band; calculated, professional, and powerful. They play alternative-rock that’s grand in scale and yet, incredibly easy to listen to. Think old Biffy, Marvins Revolt, Minus The Bear, a more up-beat Tupolev Ghost and a less psychedelic Mars Volta, Billy Talent, but, without all the bullshit. It’s intelligent rock music, for, well, almost anyone. There’s dashes of indie and pop dotted here and there, with three-part harmony and guitar hooks all over the place. There’s even instances of folk every now and then. But there’s also turns of progressive-rock and experimentation in their music, where technically and strength overpower everything.
Death and the Penguin’s debut EP Accidents Happen is set for release on the 5th of May via Best Before Records.