wears the trousers magazine


piney gir: the yearling (2009)
September 21, 2009, 9:37 am
Filed under: album, review, video | Tags: , , ,

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Piney Gir
The Yearling •••½
Hotel

Yank turned Brit, Piney Gir tips a hat to her Midwestern upbringing in her latest release, The Yearling. Using her effortless Kansan charm, Piney (real name Angela Penhaligon) spins yarns of relationships and heartbreak with a deceptively cheerful tone. Blessed with a mighty fine voice and compositional chops, her latest effort is, on the whole, a deftly entertaining one. The album, almost twee in tone, is winsome and lovelorn even as it flashes a winning smile. Playfully combining genres and eras, Penhaligon fits in nicely with acts like The Ditty Bops, Madeline Adams, or a twangier version of The Softies. Throughout her career, she has leaned towards the lo-fi or DIY end of things, of which The Yearling is a perfect example; here, production duo ‘The Age Of Reason’ enlist the use of creaky doors, tupperware containers and even bees to help create the various textures.

Formerly of Vic 20 and The Schla La Las, Penhaligon is no stranger to genre hopping, having jumped around from electronica to garage to country. Much like her 2006 release Hold Yer Horses, The Yearling makes its bed among the twangy guitars and erstwhile lyrics of country music, while the hints of electronic beats that pepper this wholesome front to varying degrees from song to song are more in tune with her 2005 solo debut Peakahokahoo. Though often used to great effect, there are times when this combination feels forced or ill fitting, the beats providing an unnecessary addition that remains too timid to add anything useful to the song. Likewise, the often clever use of effects by The Age Of Reason can sometimes further agitate the delicate balance the songs rest upon by adding to the list of unwanted distractions.

A storyteller first and foremost, Penhaligon’s songwriting chops are evident throughout the album and provide quite an allure. Many of the songs prove completely engaging, even as she struggles to blend her lo-fi kitsch tendencies with her characteristically heartfelt, thought provoking lyrics. When it works the outcome is marvellous, and songs like ‘There Was A Drunk’, ‘Say I’m Sorry’ and ‘Oleanna’ stand to prove just that. Yet even when the fusion fails to sizzle there are still no obvious duds. Of course, the key strength of The Yearling lies in its simplicity: a good voice paired with tight, well crafted songs and sweet, seductive melodies. The only faults, really, come from its youthful attempts to add flash where none is needed.

Elyse Cain
UK release date: 28/09/09; www.myspace.com/pineygir

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