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CD Review: Jack Peñate

Everything Is New (XL)

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On his 2007 debut album Matinée, London singer-songwriter Jack Peñate came off like a lovesick troubadour whose acoustic guitar-driven tunes fell somewhere between overwhelming glee and heartbreaking resignation. On Everything Is New, he takes the title quite literally, offering nine British soul songs that pour on the handclaps and horns. "Dance away defeat/Change has been released," he sings on the title track, and dance he does ... and he hopes you'll join him. With shades of disco, tropicalia, Afrobeat and dancehall coursing through the grooves, Everything Is New is an invitation to shake your moneymaker by this previously over-earnest romantic. If Matinée's easy reference point was Billy Bragg's personal (not political) songs, this time it's new-wave soul men like ABC who drive Peñate's latest guise. Songs like "Pull My Heart Away," "Be the One" and "Tonight's Today" are soulfully good. — Michael Gallucci

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