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A Magazine for Sheffield

Man Made Object

GoGo Penguin expel a beautiful and furious brand of modern jazz that wrestles the listener's ears into submission within a minute of the album's opening 'All Res'. Their technical brilliance is unquestionable. Their sound is recognisable throughout. Their Man Made Object is stern and robust.

The majority of the album feels much like it was forged in the same sessions as their previous award-magnetising venture and the trio's instrumental sound of crisp, wooden drums, deep, rich double bass and elegant, prancing piano perpetually pleases. This style is what has made them and also what currently contains them.

Instead of wandering off into unknown territory, like Herzog's penguin in Encounters at The End of the World, they stick mostly to the feeding grounds they know well. Any signs of straying from the successfully beaten track are found on 'Smarra' where Illingworth's classical key sound is part-exchanged for a rounded synth that's most welcome on its arrival. The group unexpectedly proceeds to build into a wall of distortion and imperfection seldom found elsewhere on the album. Its rawness is enticing, but it brings into question much of what surrounds it. It points inward.

The percussion is extraordinary throughout and the 10-track piece will serve as a great introduction to anyone not familiar with this pulsing northern sound. They may have played relatively safe with their major label debut, but they have played safe inexplicably well.

GoGo Penguin launch the album at Band on the Wall on 20 and 21 February.