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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra - A Brief History CD (album) cover


The Penguin Cafe Orchestra


Eclectic Prog

4.29 | 5 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars First things first: Do not judge this album based on the first track! It's my least favorite track here. At least give this a listen through track 4... then you'll have a good feel for this.

This is an excellent "best of" collection from Simon Jeffes' Penguin Cafe Orchestra. This is not a bad place for newcomers to start as it does span the full history of the band. However, as is the case with any compilation, especially in Prog or Art Rock circles, listening to the full original albums is preferable. That's the only reason this has 4 stars rather than 5. I just can't give a greatest hits collection 5 stars on principle.

That said, this music is fantastic instrumental acoustic... kind of a "progressive folk" vibe. Every track is 4 or 5 stars! PCO is known to find a groove and jam on it for a few minutes. This may sound repetitive in some cases to others, but it's actually quite enjoyable to listen as they take a simple riff and build on it and add layers while the riff repeats underneath (if you know Scale the Summit's type of music, this is not too different... just acoustic rather than metallic). Good for an engaging listen or as background music while working the ol' desk job.

Highlights include "Telephone and Rubber Band" and "Music for a Found Harmonium" which are the PCO's two most famous tracks (used on soundtracks, commercials, etc). Other highlights: the melancholy-turned-to-beauty of Prelude & Yodel; the playfulness of "Heartwind" and "Giles Farnaby's Dream"; the juxtaposition of a quietly surging rhythm section underneath sad piano (think Michael Giacchino's music from TV show "Lost") on "White Mischief";

nickel | 4/5 |


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