Ryan Pennatune - 'Recess'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze onto Ryan Pennatune, an aspiring indie songwriter who just dropped his explosive debut EP, ‘Recess.’ The four track excursion through Pennatune’s musical psyche is an intriguing one, making for a solid foray into the scene for the performer. Let’s explore ‘Recess’ and determine whether it’s worth adding to your playlist.

Pennatune cites a huge variety of music when describing what culminates into his sound. Power-pop, alternative rock, and classic rock are all key players in his style. It’s worth noting that the man records everything himself, too. He played all the instruments, produced the record, and has put it out alone. Thus, it is as he describes, “pure Ryan Pennatune.”

‘Anyone Seen Kyle?’ is the opening of the EP, and it pistol whips in you the face with an intense force of indie power-pop. The thunderous percussion is absolutely enthralling, and drives home a heavy hitting endeavor quite unlike anything else in the indie scene. Pennatune’s musical style is straight out of 1979, perhaps even a bit reminiscent of Stiff Records content from the era. ‘Anyone Seen Kyle?’ is as punchy and slick as a Nick Lowe tune. Spin the track, then head on over to ‘Marie Provost’ or ‘Rose of England.’ There’s a lineage there.

The production surrounding Pennatune has a very raw feel to it, as if he recorded it in a garage or home studio. Sometimes, this does result in his vocals being undermixed - as is the case in ‘Golden Boy.’ These are issues that could probably be ironed out with some simple remixing and mastering, though, and don’t really detract from the experience of the EP. ‘Golden Boy’ has a punk feel to it that lends itself well to a gritty, powerhouse rock and roll ride.

If there’s one thing to take away from ‘Recess,’ it’s that Pennatune does one hell of a job convincing you he’s performing with a band. There’s never a missed note in the instrumentation, and the prowess he injects into each instrument breathes life into it like it’s a whole new musician. ‘Apricity,’ for example,’ has some superb guitar riffs that bounce off one each other elegantly like there are two guitarists. He’s nailed the ‘one man studio band’ act.

‘Convince Me’ closes the album with some of the most eclectic and exciting riffs on the EP. Pennatune’s harmonies with himself and quite good, and his songwriting is fairly sharp. The songs are well penned and don’t get lost in unnecessary verses or bridges. They’re wham, bam, thank you, ma’am tunes.

Ryan Pennatune is an artist worth keeping tabs on. He’s going places, and his music a whole lot of fun to check out.