Penny Rich: Last Meal

As “Last Meal” opens, I am instantly hooked by the guitar riff. I know the moment the full band starts, this song is going to rock my socks off.

I’ll be honest, I judge “punk music” based off three things:

  1. Does it invoke a feeling of rebellion perhaps against “The Man” or “The Patriarchy” within me
  2. Could I see the artist/band touring with The Clash
  3. Would the Sex Pistols admonish the music

The new single from Cardiff’s three-piece, Penny Rich ticks off all three boxes.

The trio spent 2020 writing and recording their debut album, working with Andrew Sanders at Cardiff’s Kings Road Studio and they aim to continue their success from their previous two EPs, Nomad and Revolving Door.

As for my judging of “punk music”, Penny Rich could easily tour with The Clash. Their sound alone would have fans of the latter clamouring for front row view of the band on any stage, big or small. There are pieces of their sound that remind me of The Clash and the Sex Pistols. I imagine if Penny Rich were of the era of the Pistols, their sound and vibe would have the icons shaking in their proverbial boots because “the new kids” were about to kick them off the stage or out of the scene and take their spotlight. The icons would definitely admonish the talent of Penny Rich, but it would be an admonishment out of respect albeit a secret respect and not in hate.

Drawing inspiration from the concept of the last meal served to inmates on death in the US, the band says this of “Last Meal”

The song explores the idea of a last meal as a metaphor for empty, superficial pleasures, indulged in to temporarily escape the anguish, anxiety or depression the consumer may be experiencing. It’s the juxtaposition between feelings of superficial satiety and profound emptiness. In short: empty pleasures that fail to cure the real issues at play.

As I watched the 2022 US Midterms elections unfold from across the world, this song was my soundtrack. The feeling of rebellion within was more of an angst within. For me, the song showcased the anxiety I felt watching the country I once called home on the verge of change. I imagine, most people with compassion and kindness in their soul, watched with held breath if the change that was happening there would be good or bad.

The lyric that held my attention the most was “I lost my way”. It reverberated in my head as a constant reminder that the angst I felt was valid. Not just about the elections, but about what was happening on a global level. The lyric reminded that I needed to channel that emotion into something. That something was and is rebellion. Rebellion against the norm, against “The Man”, “The White Patriarchy”, and the hate.

While the band may be lyrically confronting self indulgence, their craftsmanship asks me to confront what action will I take to make the Universe a better place.

Listen to “Last Meal” below