Jack Peñate: After You review – expansive third album

(XL)

Jack Peñate’s 2007 debut, Matinée, with its scrappy, jangly indie guitar pop, was a product of its time. Its follow-up, 2009’s Everything Is New, recalibrated the Londoner’s profile to that of a more serious, refined dance-pop artist. Following that record’s acclaim, Peñate took a step back from the limelight, and has spent the past decade learning how to produce music himself.

Indeed, his return on After You showcases Peñate’s own high-end production values (with some help from Paul Epworth, Inflo and Alex Epton). This isn’t a release that bows to zeitgeisty sounds, but instead aims, in somewhat hit-and miss-fashion, at timeless songwriting. The sprawling cosmic delicacy of Loaded Gun feels reminiscent of Bowie; the Beatles are referenced at their most spiritual via slightly eye-roll-inducing sitar on the otherwise sweet Cipralex.

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