Boomkat Product Review:
Penelope Trappes concludes her trilogy with a selection of shimmering, darkjazz dream pop. Like Hans Zimmer producing the soundtrack to a Cocteau Twins biopic or Bohren & der Club of Gore jamming with Arca-era Björk >> next level doomed romance.
Back in 2017, Australia-born, Brighton-based producer Penelope Trappes released her debut album "Penelope One" on Optimo. Despite having a background in jazz and opera singing, Trappes had never written her own music until after the birth of her daughter. Her debut was a chance for her to comb through feelings on birth, motherhood and the body, and find confidence in creating art in an industry that fetishizes youth.
Her second album was a more somber affair, building on her debut's skeletal doom gaze and exploring loss and grief. Now, with "Penelope Three", she finishes the story with a set of gothic tales of motherhood, anxiety and healing. It's a confident record that's been simmered in experience and emotion..
Trappes subverts this by twisting her words around delicate, reverb-soaked productions that sound timeless. The inherent jazziness - low-slung doom bass, smokey vocals, pitter-patter drums - is offset by smart, subtle electronic elements that feel satisfyingly invisible. The album's centerpiece 'Red Yellow' sounds almost like Art of Noise's 'Moments in Love' stripped its core elements, but sizzles with the smooth, low-slung crackle of Barry Adamson.
It's a mix of styles that's hard to get right (we're not gonna lie, we clock piss-poor Slowdive/Seefeel pastiches every week), but Trappes' navigates the territory with ease. Minimal, haunting and incredibly affecting, "Penelope Three" is a masterful third act.