BRIGHTON-based, Australian-born mistress of noir electronica, Penelope Trappes, has announced that the concluding album of her Penelope trilogy will be out on her home of the past few years, Houndstooth, at the end of May; and she’s dropped the lush, draping velvet of “Nervous” to curl you like incense smoke into her world. There’s also some British tour dates to mark in your diary.
Penelope Three completes her triptych with an album of healing, on which she looks to release herself from fear and into love.
“Nervous” expresses her fragility with a silky power, her vocals at times a touch Aldous Harding, at others a soupçon Björk, the lazy mist of slow breakbeats, piano, strings swirling around you.
Penelope says of the accompanying noir video: “In mid-2020 I began renting a strange and unique house in Brighton, but I couldn’t actually move into it for a month, so I used the space and time to film this video.
“It delves inside the mind of a nervous, smoking woman, which takes the form of an oppressive strange house. Inside, she is confronting the balance between the masculine and feminine within her, which take the form of two spirit characters.
“Outside there are expansive but liminal moments of reprieve from the claustrophobia, but she invariably gets drawn back into the anxious loop of her own mental entrapment.”
Despite formal vocal training when younger, it wasn’t until after her daughter was born that Penelope began writing music. Now in her forties, she says coming into music later has been eye-opening, and laments the fact that women past 30 are too often discarded by the music industry: “Creativity doesn’t go away when you get older, it flourishes, changes, grows like all of life,” she says, “it amazes me that this is still something for society to wrap its head around.”
Where 2017’s Penelope One explored birth, rebirth and the power of the female body, and the following year’s Penelope Two was centred around the acknowledgement of grief and loss, Penelope Three is about healing and love.
“I’m digging up the underworld with visual motifs, and a mystical, gothic darkness that symbolises my struggles,” she says.
“Yet the universal message is that of overcoming our fears to allow the love in. This is the healing.”
She’s also returned to focus on her voice, her original instrument: “The compositions are very driven by the vocals, because it is our primal instrument that can tell our story,” she says.
Penelope has also announced a string of live dates, beginning with a live-stream just before the release of her new album and then continuing in the autumn. The dates are as follows:
May 13th, Brighton, The Great Escape, live-streamed performance;
September 23rd, Manchester, The White Hotel;
September 24th, Glasgow, The Alchemy Experiment;
September 25th, Birkenhead, Future Yard;
September 26th, Leicester, Attenborough Arts Centre;
September 30th, Brighton The Rose Hill, and
November 21st, St Pancras Old Church, London.
For more details on these dates, including the live stream, visit Penelope’s website, a hypertext link for which you’ll find below.
Penelope Trappes’ Penelope Three will be released by Houndstooth digitally, on CD, on trad black and on limited crystal clear vinyl on May 28th; pre-orders are being taken now over at her Bandcamp page.