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Page last updated at 06:45 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 07:45 UK
Bad reviews 'inspire' Jack Penate

By Greg Cochrane and Tom Pinnock
Newsbeat music reporters

Jack Penate
The singer-songwriter recorded a session for Radio 1's Live Lounge on Thursday

"It's not like I've discredited anything, it just feels like that was just a different time for me, and I feel I've kind of got a new way of thinking now since the first one."

The man himself might not be discrediting anything, but a lot of reviewers weren't too kind to Jack Penate's debut album, Matinee, when it was released in 2007.

Not a bad record per se, but you could say it was too jaunty and hyperactive for its own good.

So, with his presence considerably lower than it had been before, Penate returned a few months ago with the dance-influenced Tonight's Today, the first single from his new album Everything Is New.

All the work I've put in seems to have been understood, which is cool
Jack Penate

"I wanted people to know that I knew that I was changing," he says. "I wanted everyone to realise that it was a change for me, and to realise that, you know, that [as a] musician you grow."

And grow is precisely what Penate's done. Ditching the jangly guitars and twitchy rhythms of old, the Londoner's now mixing up Balearic beats, Chicago house and Afrobeat.

'Surprise people'

Ably concocted by Penate and super-producer Paul Epworth, Everything Is New is, to say the least, a welcome surprise, and contains some of the most interesting pop songs of the year in the shape of Tonight's Today and Be The One.

"There's something that I felt I wanted to do on this record," he says, "which was hopefully surprise people but do it naturally.

"I wanted to do something which felt natural to me but was a surprise - quite a fine line to walk on when you're doing that, that's why it took quite a long time to do the record.

"Now the reviews are coming, and obviously they affect you - you know, it's not nice when you read a bad one - but it feels nice that all the work I've put in seems to have been understood, which is cool."

'Pulled it off'

What with The Horrors surprising critical rehabilitation on second album Primary Colours, it seems to have been quite the year for reinventions.

Penate still reckons more artists need to take risks like him, though.

Jack Penate
Jack Penate performing for the Radio 1 Live Lounge Tour

"There's been quite a long period in the last 10 or 15 years of acts who it seems are people who are incredible on their first [album] but then [it] doesn't seem like there's much of a change, and I find that quite sad really, just for our state of music.

"I suppose I wanted to do the opposite, I wanted to be someone who, and I think I will be, someone who gets better with each record, so I'm feeling pretty positive that I seem to have, hopefully, pulled it off."

The true test of whether he's really pulled off his transformation with his fans may come when the 24-year-old performs at Somerset's legendary Glastonbury Festival later in June.

"We've been practising like mad," he explains, "I think we've got another practice the day before then we're doing it.

"It feels like for me it's gonna be quite an influential gig and hopefully it'll be a gig that I'm always gonna remember as something that kind of sparked… you know, these Glastonbury gigs can get things going, they can get people talking, if you really impress the crowd people talk about that.

"People have been saying the line up is quite big on the older generations, but I think it's wonderful, to see Neil Young live, I can't wait.

"I've never seen him before. He was a big hero of mine growing up so I'm so excited.

"I'm playing Friday then without a doubt I'll be there all weekend, I can't wait."



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