A sense of optimism infuses Penguin Cafe’s fifth studio album Rain Before Seven… not the braggadocious, overconfident kind, but more a blithe, self-effacing optimism in keeping with the national character. Even when all signs point to the contrary, it operates within the certainty that things are going to be alright. Probably.
The title comes from an old weather proverb with the rhyming prognostication — fine before eleven — hinting at a happy ending, irrespective of the science: “I found it in a book and I'd never heard it before,” says Arthur Jeffes, leader of Penguin Cafe. “It has faintly optimistic overtones and I quite like it. It's fallen out of usage recently but it does describe English weather patterns coming in off the Atlantic.”
From the widescreen reverie of opener ‘Welcome to London' with its cheeky nod to Morricone to'Goldfinch Yodel', the self-described “Maypole banger” at the denouement, there’s a welcome sense of sanguinity, always with an undercurrent of exotic rhythmic exuberance. Playfulness pervades, with a titular nod to A Matter of Life… from 2011, the last album title that concluded with an ellipsis. That Penguin Cafe debut is the bridge between the legendary Penguin Cafe Orchestra, led by Arthur’s father Simon Jeffes, and the much-loved descendent, led by Arthur.