NEWS: Penetration @ Pop Recs Ltd. | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It’s half a century since Penetration defined a movement with Don’t Dictate. Unapologetically rebellious and outspoken, Pauline Murray’s vocals carried punk rock through its heyday and beyond. On Thursday 27th October, the North East punk veterans once again take to the stage at Sunderland’s Pop Recs Ltd. 

I hadn’t actually been following Penetration’s recent movements. The ageism and rapid-turnover of the music industry can make it easy to overlook bands that are synonymous with a bygone movement. In an interview Pauline recognised this, noting that we are living in very different times to the late seventies when the band first hit their stride. After their iconic 1978 debut they had a stint with Factory Records in Pauline Murray and The Invisible Girls – collaborating with John Cooper Clarke and Vini Reilly. 2015 saw the band release Resolution – more alt. rock than angsty punk. Their 2021 album, Drifter Amber is their most experimental iteration to date. So different in fact, that I had to double-check whether it was even them. Stripped back, instrumental, bordering on dance beats and trip-hop; it’s exciting. 

What defines Penetration is their stamina and versatility. Ironically, their lack of PR-funded commercial success and refusal to sell-out and move down South means that they’re still authentically making music long after their contemporaries quit the game. For Penetration, every cloud has a silver lining.

Penetration play Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland on Thursday 27th October.


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