Pennan Brae’s sound is steeped in the sound of classic American rock and blues, storytellers such as Muddy Waters, BB King, and Elmore James. He’s also influenced by the likes of Elton John, and the sounds of the 80s: in fact he describes himself as the kind of rocker who “travels back in time yet remains unmistakably contemporary”. He builds huge rock songs, based on three or four chords, and gives them a timeless classic quality, turning humour, nostalgia, pleasure and pain into intense pop-rock and piano-driven ballads.
Pennan Brae’s latest single, ‘Pay Dirt’, was born out of frustration, the true mother of rock. The pent-up energy and raw energy that’s to be found in Brae’s vocals and stop-start verses, not to mention plenty of cowbell and lo-fi riffing guitar, will have you humming, if not singing along, from the get-go. There’s something to the track that reminds us of Australian super rock band INXS, and in turn, The Doors (who were themselves an influence on INXS).
The song comes with a video that evokes the 1970s, and indeed was crafted by director Rob Fitzgerald from old camcorder footage of New York City back in those days. There’s nothing especially pretty about the clips used, and Fitzgerald sums it up by saying he went for,
“bright lights meet vandalism, which summed up everything about NYC in the 70s and 80s.”
Unromantic as it sounds, the video nonetheless does somehow convey a romance in the feverish rushing about of the crowds, the graffiti-covered subway trains, the neon of Times Square blaring down on the passers by. Lyrics flash by onscreen, becoming part of the story, adding to the overall impact of the video. It’s a catchy song, and if that doesn’t appeal to you, the equally impressive visuals will certainly ensnare you.
Watch the video for ‘Pay Dirt’ below. You can find Pennan Brae online on his official website.