'Some of the most unusual and delightful music of the last 40 years' – The Guardian
Penguin Cafe bring their fifth studio album, Rain Before Seven... to Brighton Dome as part of their UK tour.
A sense of optimism infuses Rain Before Seven…. Not the braggadocious, overconfident kind, but more a blithe, self-effacing optimism in keeping with the national character. Even when all signs point to the contrary, it operates within the certainty that things are going to be alright. Probably.
Playfulness pervades, with a titular nod to 2011's A Matter of Life…, the last album title that concluded with an ellipsis. That Penguin Cafe debut is the bridge between the legendary Penguin Cafe Orchestra, led by Arthur’s father Simon Jeffes, and its much-loved descendent, led by Arthur.
'Stylistically it's really satisfying to get back to playful rhythms and instruments,' says the younger Jeffes. 'I became aware that we’d stopped using quite a few of the textures that had been there at the beginning – and it was certainly there in my dad's earlier stuff.'
The title comes from an old weather proverb with the rhyming prognostication – 'fine before eleven' – hinting at a happy ending, irrespective of the science: 'I found it in a book and I'd never heard it before,' says Jeffes. 'It has faintly optimistic overtones and I quite like it.'
It’ll become clear when listening to Rain Before Seven… that the themes explored transcend mere weather chat. In a sense, it’s a sonic diary scribbled from below the parapet, waiting for the danger to blow over. COVID-19’s first European destination was Italy, where Jeffes and his were staying. There might be worse places to be quarantined than a hilly enclave surrounded by olive trees, though the family were faced with the same sobering fears and uncertainties that much of the world was forced to contend with.
'The Penguins are back on top form' – Daily Telegraph
'Bouncy minimalist quavers, global folk influences and genteel surrealism. He shares his father’s talent for painting delightful scenes with limited palettes' – The Wire