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davepen abranwishandthelightparty
Artist: Dave Pen
Title: Abran Wish And The Light Party
Genre: Prog-Rock / Alternative
Release Date: 29th October 2021
Label: JAR Records

Album Review

DAVE PEN, mainstay of ARCHIVE and BIRDPEN, releases his first solo album and succeeds in scratching a creative itch, while continuing the genre-straddling work he’s layered into his past efforts - there’s everything here, from sprawling conceptual prog-rock, through psychedelia and post-punk, all wrapped up in those distinctly warm yet slightly yearning vocals of his. ‘Abran Wish And The Light Party’ is, in reality, a come-and-get-me grab bag of all things PEN, and there’s much to be discovered and delighted in here.

It’s a concept album about a cult and a cult leader, but immersing yourself in the narrative is entirely optional as the album peaks and troughs along just fine independently. Lyrically, this approach can prove challenging, as like any story put to music, there are passages where things descend into Lloyd-Webber horrors, and the spectre of ‘Joseph’ lurks around the occasional corner. But the quaint, timeless timbre that permeates much of the music here, gives it all a charm that’s hard to deny. ‘Awakening’ eases you in, a wonderfully trippy, floating introduction to a spiritual calling, and some haunting guitar and skipping percussion give ‘Unseen Unheard Unknown’ a dynamism propelled along with a whiff of menace and sinister otherworldliness.

‘Recruit - Logic x’ is completely bonkers and wouldn’t be out of place on a GONG album - ‘Death Of Adele’ a fuzzy wash of white-noise, a singular piano note and distorted voices heralding a kind of drugged-up wake, weirdly uplifting in its drifting sadness. But the final two tracks here are simply stunning - ‘The Storm’ would have been built up into something monstrous and never-ending had it been allocated an ARCHIVE song - and it would no doubt work well as such. But here, the simple melody, passionate vocal, and gentle swell of the whole suggest not so much a storm of devastation, but one of immense beauty and awe. It’s closely linked to ‘Bound’, a chanting mantra of restraint and release, beautifully realised with such an ease it seems to glide by, the silence that follows as much a part of the song as anything that went before.

This is an odd album, but not a difficult one to penetrate. It has no interest in building too much back-story, nor does it leave you with answers - simply, it just exists now, a dream plucked from one man’s mind and laid out for you to take or leave. Immerse yourself though - it might not be your dream, but it’s still a fascinating glimpse of an alternate non-reality.


01. Awakening
02. Unseen Unheard Unknown
03. Abran And Adele
04. It Won’t Be Like The Movies
05. Recruit - Logic x
06. Caged Oceans
07. Death Of Adele
08. The Storm
09. Bound


Dave Pen


Cover Picture

davepen abranwishandthelightparty


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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