Emperor Penguin have a knack of encompassing the history of Pop Rock. Undeniably aided by all four able to take Vocals, they excel across all ages. The 60s of The Move and The Kinks, The 70s of the great Pop Rock album bands and the UK New Wave and the 90s Not Lame days.
Yet they aren't a retro band, everything sounds as up to date and in their quest for variety they never forget that the genre is about melody and particularly the chorus. Too many who go for variety sound unfashionably American, there is no denying that Emperor Penguin are Brit.
On The Motorway underlines this versatility. It is like the Bonzos doing Psych Pop, twists and turns and knowing references abound. How I Won The War is ace mid 60s Jangle Pop whilst The Magic Pop is very Sgt. Pepperish.
The Ballad Of Billy Farthing is like McCartney leading Lindisfarne., yet Spuknik Sweetheart is splendid UK New Wave 1979. The Shallows is spookily great, Baroque at times, Lightning Seeds in other moments.
You Don't Know What You're Missing could be from a 60s Kitchen Sink film, but still sounds a bit Chris Difford. The vocal on Extraordinary Years could give 80s Duran Duran a run for their money., Love Is The Worst is fine Power Pop and A Gun And A Badge is a cross between The Brothers Steve and The Motors.
There really is great depth across these 13 songs. Aided by a big production, Sunday Carvery is a cracking listen. My only quibble is the drum sound. There is some fantastic drumming, but the sound is a little strange and slightly off putting. That is a minor point though on such a fabulous album.
You can listen to and buy the album here.