Penguin Party – See Thru Songs

Penguin Party
See Thru Songs

Dave Milligan, one-half of the UK indie band arco, has embarked on a side project he’s dubbed Penguin Party. Mainly a solo project, written and produced by Milligan, he steps away from arco’s slow-core rock and into more upbeat and quirky pop-rock territory with the help of a few guest musicians, including the other half of arco, Chris Healey.

With a decidedly British flair, Penguin Party prove they can play stylistic pop-rock tunes using numerous instruments, varied influences and genre-hopping arrangements, along with their own musical talents, similar to the likes of Squeeze, Of Montreal and The Santiago Steps.

Milligan and Co. adorn their naive melodies with blotches of beats and snappy electric guitar bursts, some with angular tempos and brisk beats, occasionally building textural tapestries with soft touches of percussion and keyboard washes accented with various electronic drones. Waves of swirling synths flutter over light guitar strumming, creating sweet sounding, semi-psychedelic melodies that are pleasant enough while you are listening to them but can’t be recalled once the disc is over. Dynamic vocal interplay, reminiscent of early Bowie, Of Montreal and Squeeze, rollick on top in an effort to make the songs more interesting.

The vocals, while entertaining, aren’t enough to carry all the tunes as some fail to unfurl into anything tangible. See Thru Songs doesn’t serve up the good stuff consistently as Penguin Party periodically mix in some quirkiness that comes off as cloy while trying to be clever. Like being semi-psychedelic for the sake of being cool and not necessarily within the proper context and flow of the songs. The odd pop songs are pleasant, with some a bit too sluggish and lacking an edge, but still charming enough to listen to now and again.

Recommended Tracks: “Someone Else’s Turn To Be Me”, “Here Be The Chorus” and “Lullaby”