Written by: Charlotte Bredael
Back in the day, the original Penguins Neil Christie (vocals, guitar), Nigel
Winfield (vocals, guitar), Adrian Long (vocals, bass) and Richard Wilson (drums) made it their mission to make a statement. Inspired by legends like The Beatles and Buzzcocks they began to make a noise in London’s local scene, playing gigs across the area in the early ’90s before solidifying their sound and recording their debut album at BBC Maida Vale Studios. Surprisingly, this album ‘Crumhorn’ remained unreleased until very recently.
The group ended up going into a long hibernation until 2017 before finally resurfacing with a new album ‘Rum Pop Engineer’. Original member Adrian was replaced with guitarist, bassist and singer ‘JT’ who was ready to inject a fresh wave of energy into the band.
They continued to hone their sound through their 2018 EP ‘Walnut Fascia’ and their 2020 album ‘Soak up the Gravy’ which was released in January and turned the heads throughout the industry.
The best album I’ve heard in the power-pop/guitar pop arena so far this year is ‘Soak Up The Gravy’. What’s apparent is the frequent originality in the songs, a talent for crafting memorable hooks, and some witty lyricism.’
The Morning Call
Their newest venture is the new EP ‘Taken for a Ride’ which was released on Spotify on July 1st. Showing a fresh side to their sound, Emperor Penguin have proved that their back and better than ever.
The EP starts with ‘Tuesday’s World’, introducing you to the unique dream pop sound that continues throughout. They create an electric soundscape of hazy vocals, starting off the tracklist with the perfect mix of chill out vibes and catchy beats. You can check out their atmospheric, classic movie esque music video below.
This follows into the more upbeat track ‘Maserati’ which is an earworm of classic indie pop vocals, toe-tapping beats and smooth harmonies, accompanied by an animated music video.
The third track Belgravia Affair doesn’t come with a music video but makes up for this with atmospheric, raspy vocals, lyrics that you can’t help but sing along to and electric riffs. This one is my personal favourite on the EP and shows a new side to Emperor Penguins that we haven’t seen as much of in previous albums.
Finally, ‘Taken for a Ride’ comes to a close with the futuristic ‘Hangar 9’. The track begins with panicked spoken word about an alien invasion, setting the tone to the track before being followed up with intergalactic synth, conceptual lyrics and addictive beats. Of course this track is accompanied by a suitably out of this world music video that you can watch below.
Emperor Penguin have proved themselves as one to watch in 2020, continuing to develop their sound by being unafraid to explore new avenues, giving in to psych pop/rock and never failing to deliver addictive earworms. If you’re left wanting more, make sure to check out their previous albums on Spotify and follow them on social media as this definitely isn’t the last you’ll be hearing from the penguins!