[Review] Pennies By The Pound – Heat Death Of The Universe

Pennies By The Pound is a Progressive and Psychedelic Rock band formed in Helsinki, Finland and with an EP and a full-length to their credit. The debut album titled “Heat Death Of The Universe” released on May 21, 2021 contains 7 medium length tracks to which 3 guest artists contributed on guitar, vocals and keyboards. The opening track “The Waters” is also the longest, opening with an interweaving of piano and guitars and a solid rhythmic session, creating a positive sonic atmosphere. The vocal enters and the song develops, maintaining a soft sound enriched by tempo changes, where the keyboards offer pleasant symphonic cues. A Prog mold trace that manages to mix tradition with innovation, well structured and executed. “Strange Matter” is instead a short passage of just over 1 minute, centered on atmospheric interweaving of guitar and keyboards that create a symphonic carpet that guide us throughout the song. “Strange Stars (Lies Closer To Truth Than Beauty)” returns to the sounds of the opener, with an easy-to-grasp Prog enriched by tempo changes and with a constantly changing structure. The vocal is more powerful while alternating softer sections with others where the intensity increases, with the addition of choral parts. Pleasant with the instrumental parts in my opinion more incisive than the sung ones, even if overall it is pleasant. From the darkest atmospheres, “139” begins with an intertwining between a hypnotic piano and a bass on which a warm and expressive vocal is inserted. With the insertion of the rhythmic session a track develops in the form of a ‘song’ and more linear in structure and in the developments with less pleasant tempo changes and which transforms with more positive melodies in the second part. “Indigo Screams” begins with strong bass lines and a very rhythmic drum, the melodies alternate with tighter passages and a more open and symphonic refrain. Closer to Classic Rock and less Prog than the first three, with also some more modern passages in the second part, it softens the tones, the guitar and keyboards solo section is good in the final, even if short. “San Francisco Skyline” also exceeds 6 minutes in duration, returns to more elaborate terrain, even if the sound of the band has marked Pop contaminations that mixed with Prog create a good union and make it accessible to all. well developed, in the second part it leaves more space for the instrumental part, for tempo changes and is very pleasant. Closes the album “Heat Death” which is also part of the title of the album, which begins with darker sounds and an effected vocal. The atmospheres remain dark while the developments are given by interesting intertwining between keyboards and guitars and the instrumental part binds well to the vocal, a good ending with a melancholy touch. A band that offers a pleasant album, even if I haven’t found the Psychedelic Rock description, but in my opinion the genre is more attributable to Pop Progressive with hints of Classic Rock. Pleasant and more incisive the more Progressive songs that alternate with other softer ones that dampen the tones, while on the whole the album is smooth. A listening recommended for lovers of Progressive Rock sounds with Pop and Classic Rock influences, well developed and executed. It will be interesting to hear the evolution of the band in subsequent releases, as well as their live appearances.

Tracklist

1. The Waters (06:49)
2. Strange Matter (01:17)
3. Strange Stars (Lies Closer To Truth Than Beauty) (05:32)
4. 139 (04:13)
5. Indigo Screams (03:57)
6. San Francisco Skyline (06:11)
7. Heat Death (05:28)

Lineup

Johannes Susitaival / Vocals, Drums, Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar
Vesa Ranta / Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Tomi Laaksonen / Bass

With:

Alexander Meaney / Additional Lead Guitar on Track 5
Kaisa Ranta / Additional Vocals on Tracks 3 and 7
Rauli Eskolin / Additional Keyboards

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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