Penguins with Knives is a goofy name for a band. But you know what's not goofy? The jams these dudes from New Orleans crank out. The band's debut record Those People Are Dead, PWK is a subtle mix of bands like DOWN, Acid Bath, ZZ Top, and a little Memphis soul all wrapped in a filthy, dirty gas rag.
There's some experimentation going on throughout the record, but the identity of the music never waivers off into unfocused territory. Instead, what PWK do is level an attack that's balanced and heavy, but also palatable thanks to how the vocals are phrased. Despite being four guys used to hammering back some whiskey shots with plenty of Pabst Blue Ribbon chasers, the sounds on the record are a solid batch that offers a lot of promise. The New Orleans spirit comes through via the sonic grooves stitched throughout the album, giving frontman Benjamin Deffendal plenty of chances to capture his moods across the songs showcased.
"Pickpockets and Loose Women" is a New Orleans sludge banger with all of the requisite head-bobbing riffs one needs while keeping their beer close. The smoke-infused intro with its wailing feedback is straight from the Eyehategod playbook, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. "Tale of The Wandering Witch" is distorted, nasty and heavy but keeps the groove at the center of the song, always keeping its foot on the gas.
Trying to stand out in a town like New Orleans is hard. When you do breakout, you become canon immediately, it's just how serious people take the metal that comes from the Crescent City; it's dirty, it's flawed and always fucked up, but it's also delicious. Penguins with Knives is no expectation. If they continue to make more music, this is an excellent starting point, it can only get weirder, darker and sludgier from here. And you know, what? The world needs more bands that make you want to hoist your drink while making the nasty doo-doo face while you silently whisper to yourself, "fuck yeah, that's sick."
Check out Penguins with Knives on Bandcamp today. Don't be a cheapass, buy the record. They put some elbow grease into it.