I was given the opportunity to listen to Penny Rich’s debut album If Everyone’s an Expert and like any great punk album, despite it being 10 songs, the album was over before I knew it.
That’s the one bad thing about punk songs, they’re often shorter than most, but the great thing about music is that you can put it on repeat and listen until your ears bleed and that’s what you’ll want to do with If Everyone’s an Expert.
Recorded with Andrew Sanders at Kings Road Studio and like any proper punk band, Penny Rich does not shy away from diving head first into today’s politics and vocalist and guitarist Anthony B’s personal struggles of this hellacious time.
The trio lay bare their souls with raw honesty that will allow fans to connect on an emotional level that’s more than just raising a fist in the air and banging their head along to the beats.
If Everyone’s an Expert opens up with a guitar instrumental before heading straight into “Spirals”, the band’s latest single from the album.
The band says this of the song,
Spirals’ is a song about finding futile solutions to life’s upward and downward Spirals from the point of view of someone with underlying perfectionism and OCD. It explores the subconscious reflex of reaching for all-encompassing answers to your problems, be it a fad diet, a new routine, etc. Eventually, these solutions all ultimately fail, leaving you back at the bottom, at the start of the next Spirals.
As I previously wrote about “Spirals”, the band attacks the subject with a vicious vendetta. The guitar is pinpoint accurate. Each note meticulously chosen to emphasise the lyrics that Anthony “Ant” B has chosen to belt out. The drumming by Tobias O’Reilly further drives the weight of the message with a steady rhythm that also allows Chris Hampson to surf in on a wave of low chest rumbling bass lines that hit at the heart.
It’s just a great punk song. Also a previous single, “Last Meal” has a wonderful guitar intro and tinny drums that makes one want to get in the mosh pit and go crazy.
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.
“Last Meal” was my introduction to Penny Rich, so it has a spot within my heart that will always love it.
As If Everyone’s an Expert plays on, we’re treated to the vocal talent of Anthony. At moments, he’s channelling legends like Joe Strummer, Mike Ness, Johnny Rotten and then at times he’s channelling the smooth confident swagger like Iggy Pop. Anthony’s vocals allow him to wear his heart on his sleeve but without the need to scream his head off for it.
Anthony is not alone on his journey though. He’s got his guitar as a weapon and he wields it with dirty riffs and shrewd licks that are quintessential garage band feels and his sidekicks in bass, Chris, and drums, Tobias, are there by his side. Tobias slays each drum beat with a fire and brimstone filled damnation while Chris barrels down masterfully on the bass.
This trio’s power of vocals, guitar, bass, and drum can be heard perfectly in the song, “P.C.” and again in the longest song on the album, “Downriver” that clocks in at 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
The downtempo “Stasis” is Anthony with his guitar and the duo are formidable together in a gut wrenching confession that will hit at the heart.
If Everyone’s an Expert is a tight and cohesive album with a generous amount of attitude that is grounded in sincere and blunt lyrics that will sink into the heart of Penny Rich fans and music fans for life.
And in the end, that’s all a band or artist can hope for when they have a massive debut album like Penny Rich will be releasing on April 14th.
MUST LISTEN TRACKS: “P.C”, “Sugar Pill”, “S.P.A”, “Stasis”
FAVOURITE TRACKS: “P.C”, “Last Meal”, “Sugar Pill”
Listen to these tracks that are now available from If Everyone’s an Expert