Saturday, 13 December 2008

Review - Penelope Sulla Luna - My Little Empire

Penelope Sulla Luna - My Little Empire

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9 out of 10

There's something very universal about instrumental post-rock, and indeed instrumental music in general. There are no awkward accents or singing in second languages, no unfortunate lyrics, just the international language of music. Penelope Sulla Luna from Italy is a perfect example of how great music transcends borders and countries.

There's a danger in writing an album of this genre that it can seem staid and clich├ęd, and it's a trap many bands fall into, or try to avoid with gimmicks or (shudder) singing. It's all too easy to just be Explosions in the Sky light, no matter how good your ideas are. And whilst Penelope Sulla Luna do lift some ideas from Explosions (the guitar work is very similar in particular) there is a difference in atmosphere that sets it apart more than any instrumentation ever will. Explosions songs are on the whole gentle pieces, veering from sadness to great joy. Penelope Sulla Luna have the same soaring climaxes, it's true, but whilst the peaks are similar the troughs are much darker and more sinister, with hints of Mogwai as well as heavier bands like Neurosis and Keelhaul.

My only real criticism is that in a couple of songs there are some slightly odd scratchy noises, that actually sound a bit like corrupt MP3s, and I can't quite work out whether they're part of the music or a defect in the CD. Either way, it's not enough to detract from my enjoyment of what is otherwise a fantastic record, and one that grows with every listen.

Listen: www.myspace.com/penelopesullaluna

Tracklist:
1. Last Show on the Radio
2. Back to the Teenage
3. Space Donut
4. Butterfly Drama #1
5. Third Brain Drain
6. Butterfly Drama #2
7. Big Whoop
8. Melodia (per teste rotte sugli scogli)
9. Fortunadrago

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