Inextricably enticing...
Huw Jones

16:57 25th August 2009

It sounds like the kind of chirpy early evening welcome reserved for snow-covered guests at remote Scandinavian ski lodges, but Piney Gir, pronounced girl, is in fact the pseudonym of Kansas born, London based Angela Penhaligon.

Learning to play piano aged four, writing her first song at the tender age of nine and three albums into her childhood nurtured obsession as a serial musician, ‘The Yearling’ is a matured extension of her vividly playful pop treated country musings. It’s also an album that allows her to run riot through a playground of sonic pleasures where creaking doors, teacups, footsteps and real live buzzing bees are as musically valid as the cello, tuba, guitar and Casio PT-20.

A student of Central Saint Martins her artistic streak is in keeping with many of her contemporaries, and while audiovisual virtuosity is a gift to be cherished, you cant help at times but feel that the album, a sixteen-track affair, is at times too epic to hold its own.

That Penhaligon is enchanting is not in question, melodic warmth, abundant through ‘Say I’m Sorry’ and ‘There Was A Drunk’, provides an early indication of a rich and vocally enveloping gathering of thoughts that captures and shares heartfelt headspace, a creative outlet that in relaxed contrast extends to ‘Blithe Spirit’, ‘Blixa Bargold’s Bicycle’ and the Aesop fable inspired ‘Lion (I Am One)’ which are as daft as they are quirkily brilliant.

This extensive mishmash of traditional love-loss construction diluted by scribbled adventure, gives Penhaligon an enviable edge but by its conclusion ‘The Yearling’ a repetitious streak that glides through musical scales with studious if not awkward ease.

But with straight talking sincerity all too common, Piney Gir, an alter ego that can’t resist the lure of the stage and the illumination of the spotlight, is inextricably enticing, the showmanship of ‘Not Your Anything’ and ‘Of All The Wonderful Things’ adding a third string to her musically ambitious bow.

And with yearling defined as an animal that’s between one and two years old, the album title is an apt reflection of an artist with plenty of room to grow.