Penguin Party is
vocals, guitars, basses, drums, keys, percussion etc
Gareth Hall - Bass, Guitar, Beats and Drones on USofG. Bass on Someone Else's Turn
Tudor Davies - Hammond and Moog on Someone Else's Turn
Chris Healey - Harmonica on She Smells
Danny Scott - Treated Acoustic Guitar on Beaten, Black and Blue
Matt Tassell - Acoustic guitar on She Smells
Maddie Milligan - Backing vocals on Goin' Back To Grandma's
Penguin Party is the new project from Dave Milligan of critics' favourites ARCO (4 stars, Q Magazine; glowing write-ups in the Guardian, NME, Melody Maker and dozens more).
Milligan played in Reno & Rome (an early incarnation of NME favourites Animals That Swim) and in the 90s was one third of criminally under-exposed Pomp/Industrial nearly-men "Introversion". He's been in Arco since its inception, co-producing and playing on their three albums (including a US-only rarities compilation), which are available on labels based in the UK, US and South Korea. Penguin Party is an outlet for Milligan's immediate, accessible, spangly songs about everyday subjects like temptation, betrayal and mental illness, which don't fit Arco's gorgeous introspective sound.
All songs written and produced by Dave Milligan
except Lullaby which was written by Chris Healey
Beaten, Black & Blue which was written by Danny Scott
and United State of Grace which was written by Dave Milligan & Gareth Hall
Penguin Party - See Thru Songs is on SITTING TARGET
catalogue number: Sink4646
“highly tuneful and charming, with just the right air of quirkiness to rank it as one of the better nostalgically-flavoured records of recent times.”
"A cool, engaging release – it has a hypnotic quality that pulls you in. Milligan is not playing it safe with his pop inspirations with his healthy love of early Squeeze, Nick Lowe and Martin Newell, it’s a distinctively British take on pop craftsmanship but it works extremely well.. "
"Very catchy, very charming.. The vocal interplay throughout recalls the Difford/Tillbrook dynamic of Squeeze. EXCELLENT!!!"
"...very English nostalgic music hall pop...a compelling listen...reminds me of Andy Partridge...the best fun here is pub anthem "Goin' Back To Grandma's" with the hummable chorus and foot stompin' beat...a lot of subtle shifts in mood and genre...charming pop that will sit well with ye merry anglophile power pop fans"
"With an unmistakable ‘out-of-its-time’ production and songs which bring to mind classic Nick Lowe and Squeeze, See Thru Songs is a diverting flashback to early ‘80s Britpop. Songwriter Dave Milligan (of Arco fame) leads us through a collection of sticky hooks, quirky arrangements and choruses that insist on taking up residence, and repeated whenever one is in the proximity of running water (you’ll be singing these songs in the shower). Old synths and treated guitars fill up the gaps, and like the best pop, you’re life will mostly remain unaltered and governments definitely won’t fall, but sun-drenched drives in the country, with the windows down, will be enhanced."
"Penguin Party is the new project from musical all-rounder Dave Milligan (Arco), with a little help from a few friends; 'See Thru Songs' is an album packed full of typically British pop charm, a quirky but stylish, funtime work that's like a cross-over between Difford/Tillbrook, Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt - the classic observational pop writing of the former pairing, the sparkling light-rock individuality of the inbetweeny and the uniqueness and vocal acrobatics of the latter. Quite a combination, quite a blend, quite a strangely-strange but oddly-normal coming together! Hey, it works though!
Milligan aka Penguin Party makes smart pop music; his writing is naively intelligent (if that makes sense) and his scores are beautifully and sensitively crafted to colour the poetic lyrics, to emphasise, to adorn and enhance rather than clutter or choke down on the refreshingly individualistic but mature words. Milligan tends to keep it all quite low-key preferring light jangly guitars, expressive keys and militaristic percussive beats to add just the right amount of clever playfulness and hookiness to the mix. Left-field pop maybe but certainly on the brighter side of the odd-ball fence; that's 'brighter' as in somewhat more joyous rather than totally uplifting cuz Penguin Party's music aint actually cheery and all bright whistles and bells, oh no, it can be thought provoking and evocative as much as it can be childlike and coy.
'See Thru Songs' by Penguin Party is a strange but nicely rewarding album; it's well conceived, superbly written and beautifully performed and Milligan certainly puts a bit of fun back into the pop world - well, at least this album puts a smile on yer face purely for its quirkiness if nothing else!! Quite whether 'See Thru Songs' has the ability to be a true hit I'm not at all sure - perhaps Penguin Party will prove to be just too clever for the fickle record buying public, perhaps 'See Thru Songs' will be just too individualistic and too 'grown up' to be a hit - perhaps Penguin Party is destined to remain a cult act and 'See Thru Songs' an 'underground' album. Who knows, Penguin Party sure is an interesting concept/project and 'See Thru Songs' is an enjoyable and fascinating work; pop for pop's sake, good, old fashioned, honest-to-goodness, simplistic pop music, no frills, no big statements, no excuses, and really no surprises - just beautifully crafted, melodic songs that err on the gentler and cosseting side of the pop spectrum."
(Peter J Brown aka toxic pete)