Winter 2013 marks the release of The Silver Screen, the third release by New Brunswick\'s Penny Blacks. Building on the legacy rock \'n\' roll sounds only hinted at on their previous releases, the critically acclaimed Gold Standards EP and Harbour, this new four song EP finds the six piece band at their most creative while still delivering three-and-a-half-minute pop songs.
Formed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 2007, Penny Blacks began as a solo project by vocalist and songwriter Jason Ogden. In 2008, Ogden began adding additional instrumentation to his live shows, beginning with a cellist and Dan Chamberlain on keys. The band ultimately rounded out with Clinton Charlton (drums, vocals), Chris Braydon (guitar), Adam Kierstead (bass, vocals) and Ali Leonard (violin). Revelling equally in folk-country weepers and sheer pop, the bands\'s performances became an energetic, heartfelt mix of 50\'s tinged rockers, rootsy torch songs and true grit, prompting Canadian Musician to call their live show \"one of the best to come out of the region in years.\"
The Silver Screen, recorded in the summer of 2012 in the band\'s rehearsal space and in an empty apartment, reveals Penny Blacks\' dedication to songcraft, as well as a love for the roots of rock and pop music.
\"I think each of us really can be in different places musically at any given time, as far as what we\'re listening to and what inspires us√¢‚Ç¨¬ù says Ogden. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìBut we all share an affinity for old R&B records. It seeps into our arrangements here and there, but there is often an effort to tame it or curb it; make it do something new. But this time we kind of didn\'t fight it.\"
Although lyrically the themes do not stray far from those on 2011\'s Harbour, the arrangements and instrumentation on The Silver Screen are in complete contrast. If Harbour\'s sometimes bleak, autumnal tone was the rainy street corner where the band slumped, dejected and jilted, The Silver Screen is the spring sock hop where they meet the new girl. Its four songs spin like a quartet of hit 45s: the drums beat out an irresistible bop, the guitars jangle and snap, the organ and strings climb out of the backbeat, reaching for the precipice at the band\'s wall of sound. This is Penny Blacks at their most upbeat, and it suits them well.
The Silver Screen will be released digitally on March 15 and physically on March 19 via iTunes, CD Baby and bandcamp.