Album Review

Pencarrow – Growth In The Absence Of Light: Album Review

New Zealand based  Pencarrow has recorded a  masterpiece which blends musical moods and genres to enthrall both the newcomer and established fan.

Released: August 15th 2020

Label:  Independent

Format: DL (Bandcamp)

We may be a little bit tardy in reviewing this August release but better late than never. The Kiwi based  Pencarrow has given us an enchanting musical experience to savour. 

Their Floydian influences are clearly evident in a  captivating opener In MedIas Res with a slowly developed opening and soaring guitar. A more dynamic heavier Portrait Of My Family is based on thunderous riffs, charmingly merged with gentle elegant piano,  church organ keyboards, and orchestral strings to boot. These mouth-watering, ever-changing instrumental tracks are then followed by the first song, A Meeting In The Shadows. Harmonic and solo vocals blend superbly with the soft-toned Hackett-like guitar and sax solos lull you into a tranquil state of mind especially with the oriental chimes.

And so the versatility of Pencarrow continues,  sometimes trance-like sometimes haunting. Variations in complexity and simplicity abound as we are bombarded with a cacophony of instruments then dropped into simple delightful solo pieces. Silent Beauty is exactly what it says. A sublime orchestral piece with a brief crescendo.  Optimism shines through on the pacy New Light. Fans of the Canterbury prog scene of the 70’s will like this one.

I recommend that you ignore the progressive tag in case you are misled into expecting a complex mystery of confusing melodies and time signatures – this is just damned good music. The exquisite piano solo on Memory Terminal leads us into another diverse and grand epic, Twins Paradox: Confessions Of A Capitalist. Deep Abandonment succinctly exudes the feeling of treasured lost relationships before the finale  The Approaching Shade.

We are told the album has been six years in the making from the basic genesis of four-chord structure into this wonderful piece. Embellished by stunning orchestrations, autobiographical lyrics and Javanese gamelan by the basic live performing group led by guitarist and vocalist Tonnie ten Hove, with Justin Chorley on drums, Anthony Rose on keyboard and Todd Thompson on bass alongside some guest musicians. 

With barely one track sounding the same as another, the variety of sombre mood fluctuations and tensions leave you constantly moved and then exhilarated by stimulating instrumentation,. The one hour spent listening will pass unnoticeably in time but fully aware that you have discovered something unique. 

As 2021 may hopefully see the emergence of live performances the residents of New Zealand are in for a treat. 

Listen to In Medias Res here:

Pencarrow online: Facebook

You can follow At The Barrier on Twitter here, and like us on Facebook here. We really appreciate your support.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.