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Penetration: Resolution

Long lost north-east punk champs return.

On singles like Don’t Dictate and Danger Signs, County Durham’s Penetration were always one of the more rock-type bands of the punk era, with guitars and bass underpinning Pauline Murray’s clarion-call vocals in a manner owing more to, say, Patti Smith than X-Ray Spex.

Like many bands of the day, they departed after two albums – Murray to work with Joy Division producer Martin Hannett as Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls - and, again like many bands of the day, they’ve returned to check out the 21st century.

Unlike many bands of the day, however, they’ve come back with a decent album, a collection of songs that stand up very well indeed. Perhaps it’s because they never were gob-it-up punks and so are able to grow into their music with some dignity. Or perhaps it’s because songs like Beat Goes On and Just Drifting are tough and melodic, as well as box-fresh and confident. Either way, Resolution is as good as anything Penetration have done before.

From tension-riddled songs like Two Places to the instrumental Outromistra (EM Forster with guitars), this is a confident and exciting high for the band, at a time when most bands of their era are looking for their reading glasses.