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Penfriend Releases Debut Album 'Exotic Monsters'


This album features the latest Nirvana-esque single ‘I’ll Start A Fire’, which follows the recent, urgent and expressive single ‘Seventeen.’

Penfriend Releases Debut Album 'Exotic Monsters'

Exotic Monsters builds on Kidd's accomplished ear for melody and ambitious production style, marrying disparate influences from Tanya Donelly, Juliana Hatfield and Nevermind-era Nirvana to the gritty tension of Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer and synth soundscapes of Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears and Sylvan Esso.

With clear eyes to the casino-style attention engineering tactics of big tech companies, proven to increase depression and anxiety, the album is strewn with references to one of society's major struggles of the day - how to use this technology for good, while protecting ourselves from the damaging downsides of constant connectivity.

Drawing more from her wide-ranging reading list than her favourite bands, Laura deals with the gruelling emotional matters of 21st-century life with honesty, grace and warmth, referencing Ursula Le Guin, Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood and Mark Westmoquette along the way.

Unashamedly acknowledging the negative emotional onslaught of politics, social media, family, friends and lovers is at the core of this record, but the listener is never left without the promise of hope. The album mirrors our dystopian world, posing tough questions but always offering comfort and a friendly, empathetic shoulder to lean on.

This album features the latest Nirvana-esque single 'I'll Start A Fire', which follows the recent, urgent and expressive single 'Seventeen', the dark and expansive 'Black Car', the upbeat yet eerie 'Cancel Your Hopes' and the release of the albums title track earlier this year, which comes with the brilliant and unsettling video, which premiered with Clash who called the track "a wonderfully off piste pop song," whilst Classic Pop hailed it "...[a] moody slice of synth-pop."

It follows 2020's release of the sincere and hopeful 'The Only Way Out Is Through' and 'Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine', which is an explosive sugary pop banger that recalls the heady strut of Dream Wife and Dinosaur Pile Up whilst nodding quietly to the Blue Album-era of Weezer.

Laura is also behind the Attention Engineer podcast, which aims to address how in a noisy online world, the gift of someone's attention is priceless. In each episode she has deep conversations with artists she admires about how they balance online and offline life, tour and family, creative introspection and happiness.

It has had acclaim from the Guardian stating that Kidd, "talks with insight and warmth to (mostly) other musicians." Guests so far have included Tanya Donelly (Belly), Frank Turner, Rebecca Lucy Taylor (Self Esteem), Corin Tucker (Sleater Kinney), J Wilgoose Esq (Public Service Broadcasting) and Lemn Sissay MBE, Liz Stokes (The Beths) and many more and shot to #10 in the Apple Podcasts top music shows in the first three days.
To celebrate episode 40 of the podcast this week, the tables were turned and Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff hosted the show asking Laura questions about the record and life in general. Listen here.

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