Posted on June 9th, 2011 (10:00 am) by Bradley Hartsell

Despite Jason Ogden’s opening track name, all sinister and verbose, he immediately lets us know that his music won’t contain anything as interesting as said title. Penny Blacks is the artistic pseudonym for Ogden, and “Chop Yourself Into Little Pieces and Mail Yourself to New Brunswick, Canada for Immediate Reassembly” is the song title that could be the name of a bone-crushing Liars song. It isn’t. It’s a folk-pop record, which manages to cover ground that’s been on tape for like, fifty years. “Chop Yourself” comes and goes in two minutes without so much of a "hello"—it’s ridiculously passive and unnoticeable.

Then comes “Your Wedding Ring”, which is alt-country and missing anything memorable. The problem isn’t that I’m not singing every song all day—with this type of music I’m not expecting another Summerteeth—it’s just that music this over-saturated sounds extremely stale. Music criticism can’t always be in a vacuum—there is past catalogue to consider, and unfortunately, the past works against Ogden here. His acoustic guitar, sprinkled with light percussion, simple leads, and rounded pleasant melodies, is all familiar territory.

If you’re like me, you roll your eyes when CBS green-lights another cop drama--unless the show takes place on Mars, and the cops are dogs on roller skates, and the criminals all use jetpacks for explosive escapes, the cop show premise has been beaten into the ground. The same goes for folk pop. With this genre, you have to be selective and you have to be really good. Since Summerteeth, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes have come to own the genre with fresh aesthetics. Penny Blacks, however, is missing all semblances of original and fresh ideas.

Track List:
1. Chop Yourself Into Little Pieces and Mail Yourself to New Brunswick, Canada for Immediate Reassembly
2. Your Wedding Ring
3. Paperwork
4. Splinter Kiss
5. Socorro

Penny Blacks: Gold Standards
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

58 / 100
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