Chris Glover, the man behind NYC’s Penguin Prison, came out early Saturday afternoon (Jun. 23) at Randall’s Island’s Governors Ball in all white, with an off-white guitar, like a dance-pop cult leader, ready to lead those who trust him. Unlike the wink-and-nod funk of Chromeo, there seems to be no irony with this band; they fall closer to the Holy Ghost! end of the spectrum, delivering crisp, elegant grooves and effortless hooks that make it feel like some chic and low-key dance party.
And yesterday, the band sounded the way you’d expect said party-goers to look: crisp and clean. All the elements were discernible. And that falsetto! Glover hits all the notes, from the soulful throwback chorus of set opener “Golden Train” to the lower register of “Something I’m Not” to closer “Multi-Millionaire.”
It was a tight set, mainly sticking to the studio script and forgoing any extended improvisation. Which is why their cover of Lana Del Rey‘s “Blue Jeans” was such a treat. They’d previously remixed it, but here they gave it the full cover treatment, turning the broodingly dreamy ballad into an undulating groove all their own — even channeling some Prince with the falsetto and a guitar solo at the end. If Glover hadn’t announced it beforehand, the inebriated masses might not even have recognized that it was LDR’s song — that’s how much they owned it.
Penguin Prison’s short set was efficient and precise, and it proved their immediately likeable album wasn’t just the result of some studio magic. Told you once, told you twice: Keep an eye on these guys.