During the endless 2014 winter, ex-Unicorns and ex-Clues frontman Alden Penner created an album that crystalized his solo experience. “Exegesis” was born out of many songs build on strong folk structure and features the Montrealer’s beautiful and high voice (A Beautiful Dream). The great Losing My Head will make even the shy one jump and dance, with its incredible hook and strong melody. This album is one of a kind.

On top of skillful songwriting, Penner produces recordings that are rich in various influences. 60s folk rock à la Byrds can be heard here and there. Electric folk with high sensibility, in a slightly lighter mode than Jeff Buckley’s, is also very present. A song like Lovely Legs has strong 60s psychedelic feel all over it, in the keyboards but also in the guitar effects. How not to think of Donovan or Marc Bolan when listening to The Beauty of the Lamb, that captures the feel of these great 60s musicians. The melody is somehow reminiscent of T. Rex’s Cosmic Dancer, on 1971’s “Electric Warrior”.

Here are 3 songs that are quite impressive.

Personally, I appreciate Penner’s songs that are bare naked acoustic guitar and voice. It is the mode in which I discovered his art (through the unconditional worship of fellow critic Nadine Mathurin) with Youtube videos in which he plays solo in various places in Montreal. His song is too beautiful to be hidden below instruments. In the electric rocker Lost the Skin, he kept his voice in the front of the mix, just as if he would be whispering in our ears.

On Precession, his guitar work is simply beautiful, even if very simple. His acoustic guitar sounds great. When he starts singing, some pretty kinky lyrics by the way!, the whole thing gets to another level.
“Now that I have you / next to my body / I can do with you / all that I want to… do”

Check it out, it’s a true gem.

(Independent, 2014)

-Genre: electric psychedelic folk
-In the same mood as T. Rex, Donovan, Antony & the Johnsons

Go to Alden Penner’s Facebook fanpage
Go to Alden Penner’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.