Sometimes a song moves you with how it sounds, and sometimes a song moves you with the way it makes you feel. Texas based Penny and Sparrow’s sophomore effort “Struggle Pretty” does both.
Penny and Sparrow is made up of Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke, both from the heart of Texas. Their sound is subtle, yet incredibly powerful and memorable.
Their debut album “Tenboom” was almost totally acoustic. What it lacked in volume, it made up for in soaring harmonies and honest songwriting. “Struggle Pretty” picks up right where that album left off, building on the stripped down sound Penny and Sparrow is known for, while also seeing the duo move into a new sonic territory.
The album’s introduction and first song, “Jeffrey Alan” and “Serial Doubter” respectively, open the album the way Penny and Sparrow fans would expect it to open: intimately, full of harmony and showcasing the vocal and lyrical skill of Baxter and Jahnke. However, the third track, “Bread and Bleeding,” goes somewhere Penny and Sparrow hasn’t gone yet: loud. The track features opens with full percussion, something the duo is not known to do, and incorporates a much fuller, louder sound than usual.
“Struggle Pretty” is a much more extreme album than Penny and Sparrow’s first release. The soft and intimate is much more soft and intimate, and the intense is much more intense. More often than not, these dynamic extremes are right next to each other on the album.
The best example of this is in the last two tracks of the album. “Honest Wage” is a beautiful song that opens slowly and awkwardly, and builds into the beautiful vocals and instruments Penny and Sparrow is known for. “Fantine,” the last track on the album, is sung, hauntingly and intimately, without any instruments.
Penny and Sparrow are touring this fall in support of “Struggle Pretty.”
Follow Penny and Sparrow on Instagram and Twitter: @Pennyandsparrow