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GoGo Penguin - Everything is Gonna Be Alright (XXIM/Sony Masterworks)

14 April 2023

The dapper and dynamic trio GoGo Penguin exists outside of any easy genre sticker. Equally rooted in electronic dance music, minimalist classical music, and classic piano trio jazz, the Manchester triad has strode next to each path, easily stepping across them, but rarely treading them directly. GGP’s sixth LP confidently dances through its self-generated netherworld, letting some of the band’s electro influences stand taller this time around. Frosted more colorfully by Chris Illingworth’s burbling synths, tunes like “Saturnine,” “We May Not Stay,” and “Glimmerings” show off the band’s typical MO: ringing piano melodies, steady rhythms (courtesy new drummer Jon Scott), and Nick Blacka’s rubbery double bass driving everything. But the band walks a few new roads, just to prove they’ve not descended into formula – check out the semi-ambient/semi-free jazz “An Unbroken Thread of Awareness,” the sequencer-driven title tune (and its anthemic twin further down the setlist), and the elegiac dream that is closing song “Sanctuary.” Then there’s the delightfully weird “Soon Comes Night,” a beat-heavy contortionist of a track that’s unlike anything they’ve done together before. Half a dozen albums in, GoGo Penguin have reached the sweet spot every band dreams of: masters of their signature sound, but eager to add new wrinkles to the already colorful carpet.