Album Review: Room E / ‘Penguin Child’ (Proper Songs)


Faced with the prospect of chillwave’s enclave but refusing to be bogged down or tagged as slurred and indistinct, Room E is like an inverse equivalent of Room 101. Staffed by San Diego’s man on the door, Penguin Child groups all of your favorite things together in a plush, buoyant space. Here you will you find the sun shining and birds singing, electronic kaleidoscopes to both ease and heighten your lightheadedness, mellow background beats for smiling relaxation, and therapy for when you need it most.

In places the analogue-digital awakenings are like RJD2 getting high on the dustiness of freshly dug records (hip-hop-ish nod “Mimosa”), declaring love and peace for both a personal folk fellowship and the LA beats scene. Neo-soul bleach-outs “Sibling” and “Letter Opener” transfer from happy-go-lucky to super slick, as about half way the album goes from sunning itself to taking a quick spin round the city as a humble philanthropist. Passing funk down-and-outs “Ziptie” and “Mainline to the Core”, it returns home, mesmerized by the lapping of log fire flames.

As an unburdened childhood reminisce, Penguin Child can gambol toward the threshold of muzak: “Earl Grey” auditions for the soundtrack for when you’re put on hold or pushing around your shopping trolley. Overall, Room E’s always looking toward the positive means the after party comedown has a new resident orchestrator.
File under: Nowhere Man, Caribou, Four Tet