Album Review: Death and the Penguin – Accidents Happen

There must be something in the water across the pond. Britain’s own Death and the Penguin are dropping their debut EP Accidents Happen on May 5 through Best Before Records, and it’s not to be missed. With striking clarity and boundless energy, Death and the Penguin are a fresh face for rock, and they’re not messing around.

Opening track “Snuffed Out” falls somewhere between Mutemath and Arctic Monkeys. With a strong guitar as a building block for this song, the group shows off unique rhythms in both drums and guitar. It’s got a strong old-school rock feeling with a modern edge, leading the listener in several directions that slowly become cohesive. “Space 1998” starts out with a truly golden line: You wonder why no one can trust you/when you’re not a natural blonde. Death and the Penguin prove their lyric power in this track, setting a scene and vibe that fit together perfectly. Again, the group relies on heavy guitar to keep the track exciting, but there’s already plenty of momentum, even without the guitar solos. “An Opening” is the shortest track, the near-midway point that takes its time building. It’s a foggy, spaced-out track that adds an epic quality to the rest of the album. Bare and uncompromising, “An Opening” leads right into Death and the Penguin’s first single “Strange Times”, another headbanging guitar-heavy track with alternating soft and hard rock vocals. Just like “Snuffed Out”, the musicality of the track takes the listener for a ride.”Bitrumen” follows “Strange Times” nicely, a chorus of voices filling the background and a twisted, complicated beat slowly throwing new aspects into the mix until the song reaches a fever pitch of solid rock guitar and rhythm. The EP finishes off with “The Words That Maketh Murder”, a near-rock opera finale that brings Green Day to mind. The song slowly progresses, focusing again on a chorus of voices rather than singular, bringing the EP to a dramatic finish.

It’s refreshing to come across musicians who know how to play their instruments well. Much of popular music has fallen into patterns of predictable chord progressions, but these boys know how to play guitar in an old-school way that will have album rock fans rejoicing. Death and the Penguin are a reinvigorating group on the rock scene; this is true rock revival, minus the tight leather pants and plus a modern suaveness. These boys have a musicality that is noisy, playful, and studied all in the same moment. With such a unique approach to rhythm and levels, Death and the Penguin are bringing something exciting to the music world. We’ll just have to sit tight and wait for what’s next.

Look for their album on May 5! This is an epic release you’re not going to want to miss. For now, you can give “Strange Times” a listen.

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