Pengo - a nervous splendor

Broken Face

Pengo is a Rochester, NY trio that consists of John Schoen, Jason Finkbeiner and Joe Tunis, who all should be familiar names by now. If it doesn't ring any bells you have lots of catching up to do and might as well start by exploring Tunis' great experimental label Carbon Records which includes work of all three. Whilst shopping from Rochester make sure to pick up a copy of A Nervous Splendor, the second full-length album from Pengo. The press kit states that this LP should float the boat of fans of the Fugs, Sun City Girls, Nurse With Wound, Les Rallizes DeNudes, Syd Battett and Quaaludes. That list alone should tell you that there is absolutely no way on earth I could describe this record accurately. But since I'm a man who takes my mission seriously I will give it a try anyway. The record sounds like the sonic equivalent to the dizzying mess of an apartment that hasn't been cleaned in months. THere are papers everywhere, magazine and list of what should have been done in piles all over, and even though you can't find a thing you're looking for, it still feels like home. Call it slacker attitude, call it garbage culture, call it whatever you want, but when Pengo present their fold/drone/psych/chant/improv mysteries to the public, I'm not the one that's going to do any complaining. Their sort of clattering primitive chaos really works for me no matter if they choose the folky side of things or if they veer off into loud deconstructed rock that would make old-time Dead C pale with envy. A Nervous Splendor is a disjointed but beautiful mess that comes recommended.

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