Penny Blacks Harbour

For many songwriters, the end of a relationship is more inspirational than an ongoing, happy one, as was the case for Jason Ogden. It not only produced the 11 songs that make up his debut album, it also inspired him to turn Penny Blacks from a solo project into a seven-piece band. While not exactly bleak, Harbour has the feel of a chilly autumnal day ― there isn't much warmth in its acoustic guitars and strings, but that isn't a bad thing. There's the occasional twang, suggesting the kind of heartbreak that makes for a good country song, but for the most part, Penny Blacks sing some nicely arranged, folky songs. Harbour is definitely one of those albums that have a sound permeating each and every track ― nothing stands out, but there isn't anything that could be regarded as weak. Instead, it's best enjoyed as a whole because it does a great job of capturing that inevitable moment of impending doom in any relationship, whether real or imaginary. Everyone will find some moments of recognition and perhaps even a hint or two of guarded optimism. (Independent)