Review

Pengo - a nervous splendor

Blastitude

For all the rave this rec was getting, I thought it started on a slightly dubious note, with what is officially the 1,014th combination of post-Siltbreeze "atmosphere" and post-Fahey "roots music" on record, but it's really short and you quickly realize that it's just a bookend, a fanfare, a prelude, or whatever, and the record immediately begins to rule when an extended sample emerges, of a chipper young fellow, who is obviously a narc, telling a story, fragments of which include ". . . and then I met some Christian brothers" . . . "I was really surprised at all the love they had!" . . . "So that night I asked Christ into my life, and it's been a joy ever since."

And then, track two, "The Ill Fitting Tourniquet," fully turns my appreciation from tentative to full-fucking-on, as the Pengos take a one-chord folk pattern and soak it in the very mud of, well, Hades! (Y'know, the muddy banks of The River Styx?) Loudness, distortion, overbleed, "the red," it's all here. This is Doom. Side one stays great, finishing out with some free jazz freak-flutter and more samples of people talking, some sort of weird-ass phone stuff.

And side two is where the Nervous Splendor really gets a chance to roost and lay mutant pterodactyl eggs in your mind's eye. Of course, it takes time for that sort of incubation period, like at least 20 minutes, and when side two of any band's record is just one song, you know something's up. Pengo pull it off with another brooding jam, kill zone bystander music. Lead vocals by Idi Amin Dada.

So everybody's right: great record. Definitely better than the not at all bad Pengo Climbs the Holy Mountain. By copping the BYG Actuel design for the cover, they predict with complete accuracy their own shit-hot appearance as 'token white freaks' on a theoretical JAZZACTUEL-type compilation to be released 30 or 40 years from now.



Other Reviews of a nervous splendor

  • a nervous splendor

    Skyscraper

    by Matt Kosloff

    a nervous splendor

    The neo-folk and outsider weirdness genres have certainly collided head on, and the attention of critics and fans has been growing phenomenally. While groups like Sunburned Hand of the Man and Six Organs of Admittance garner the most praise (although...
  • a nervous splendor

    Blastitude

    a nervous splendor

    For all the rave this rec was getting, I thought it started on a slightly dubious note, with what is officially the 1,014th combination of post-Siltbreeze "atmosphere" and post-Fahey "roots music" on record, but it's really short and you quickly...
  • a nervous splendor

    Dusted

    by Nathan Hogan

    a nervous splendor

    Apocalypse Now: Luxe & Reduxe Pengo are a dark-bright beacon of madness in the subterranean swamp of psychedelic junk collectors and crummy mystics scavenging the wreckage of our ongoing cultural meltdown. The web of like-minded misfits stretches to Brooklyn, to...
  • a nervous splendor

    Fake Jazz

    by Adam Strohm

    a nervous splendor

    Pengo, a trio from Rochester, NY, have been in existence since 1998, but A Nervous Splendor is only their second full-length release. Issued as the premiere offering of Hahoma Records, a label run by Jason Finkbeiner and John Schoen, 2/3 of Pengo,...
  • a nervous splendor

    Arthur

    by Byron Coley

    a nervous splendor

    Pengo are from upstate New York, and for some reason we usually think of them as being associated with a somewhat brutal form of post-industrial freeform noise-hunch and/or bass-heavy ass-rumblage. And yeah, they still do that, but on this...
  • a nervous splendor

    The Wire

    by Edwin Pouncey

    a nervous splendor

    Dressed in a cover resembling those of the 60s French free jazz/experimental label BYG/Actuel, the second LP (and the debut release from their own Haoma Recordings imprint) from Rochester, New York based bohemian trio Pengo is a set...
  • a nervous splendor

    City Newspaper

    by Dave Cross

    a nervous splendor

    A Nervous Splendor opens with a prayer bell; a call to the heavens that will remain unanswered. For this outing, Pengo's vinyl debut, the Rochester trio's lingua franca seems to be a combination of any or all of the following:...
  • a nervous splendor

    Broken Face

    by Mats Gustafsson

    a nervous splendor

    Pengo is a Rochester, NY trio that consists of John Schoen, Jason Finkbeiner and Joe Tunis, who all should be familiar names by now. If it doesn't ring any bells you have lots of catching up to do and might...

Other Reviews by Blastitude

  • Pengo - Damaged Casket

    Blastitude

    by Reggie Queequeg

    Damaged Casket

    Daaaamn! Has Pengo made any BAD albums? This is in an edition of 50 but I wish it was more, and is two tracks, which I also wish was more! The first one starts out with a two note low bass...
  • Pengo - Moving Gelatin in a Translucent World

    Blastitude

    Moving Gelatin in a Translucent World

    Jeethush! (Translation: "Jesus!", slurred because I'm a little drunk right now.) This CD is packaged inside an amazing art book! The artist is Dennis Tyfus. He's from Belgium (I think), and for this book he's done a bunch of heavily...
  • Pengo

    Blastitude

    Ah, but what do Pengo sound like? On here, they come off as one of the more accomplished contemporary bands playing in that style I'll call The New Ominousness. Alot of noise/psych/improv artists play in this style. I...