Shiny Penny: Wait, Don't Hold

Only nine months after the release of their EP Open Out, Shiny Penny presents Wait, Don’t Hold. Admittedly, though I’ve been hearing of the alternative pop-rock band from my birthplace of Kokomo, Indiana, off and on for a little while now, this new record is my first true exposure to the group.

The EP opens with lead single “Insanity,” whose music video was exclusively released on Friday, September 18th, through Venn Magazine. After a short and ominous introduction which brings a sense of foreboding and seems to foreshadow an oncoming storm, the track overtakes the listener all at once, not unlike a wave crashing over the railing of an unsuspecting sea liner. The soft, ethereal, mist-like intro is broken suddenly by a turbulent rhythm carried on the shoulders of the kick drum and a simple piano bass line, sounding somehow impossibly smooth amid its powerful punches. The opening lyrics manage quite cleverly to form a double entendre, both boasting of the track’s musical movement and speaking poetically of the song’s theme of confusion while journeying through life:

This vessel runs a long way up
The waves are never-ending
The rows are tough and push so much
Still fight the stream so gently

The record continues with the catchy and upbeat “Don’t Believe A Word That I Say,” a song which blatantly hints—like the guy who nudges with his elbow the side of the friend next to him while saying, “Wink, wink”—through its title at the message of hypocrisy and shame about to be proclaimed by its writer. Dean Schimmelpfennig sounds like the Apostle Paul in Romans 7 as he sings that while he is hoping for a specific something, he finds himself running toward something different entirely. He finds himself desiring a thing he does not wish to desire.

I’m living a lie
So don’t believe a word that I say
I’m only living, and I’m full of mistakes
My brain is jumping all out of place
Oh, why am I holding on to what’s in the way

He proceeds to cry out in melodic pain with a cliché yet fitting “whoa” before continuing on with another verse and chorus followed by a passionate bridge of professed hopelessness:

I’m tired of needing something to fill me
Tired of seeking something that kills me
I’m tired of wishing for something more
When I know it’s only gonna make me want a little more

Next comes a mellow tune by the name of “More.” The soft piano paired with the smooth, crisp vocals cause me to imagine that I am listening to a little known Jordan Anderson melody (as all of his melodies regretfully happen to be). Then, halfway through, it nearly sounds as if The Almost decides to join the party. The combination of sounds is a beauty I have never before dreamt of being possible, ending the track with a steady crescendo in passion.

“Ticket” continues the tale with a proclamation of hope and jubilee that seems in multiple ways to be the antithesis of the EP’s opener. Beginning in a very similar manner to “Insanity”—kick drum and clean guitar eighth notes—this fourth song tells of the singer’s faithful optimism despite life’s unpredictable and discouraging complications.

I just want to tell everybody
What I am all about
That I’ve made it finally
That I got my ticket out

Truth be told, I can’t help but wish “Ticket” were the actual finale to the record. The theme, both musically and lyrically, works exquisitely to complete the thought begun by the EP’s introduction. Every time I hear the final drones of the track, I feel a sense of completeness. I feel contented—the kind of contentment that can be gained only from finishing a captivating story.

However, this record holds a sort of disjointed epilogue. After all should be said and done comes “Looking for Soul.” It’s almost a bonus track if only EPs were to have such things. Ironically, this song that feels so out of place carries the same lyrical theme as its predecessor. Hope, joy, and peace in the thick of chaos are declared:

I’ll keep moving on
I’ll find my way
I’ll forget what’s gone
I’ll know my place

However alien “Looking for Soul” may seem, the music remains creative and enjoyable just like the rest of the record. The entire EP is a lovely collection phrases and melodies that borrow your ear and forever steal your mind. Wait, Don’t Hold truly is overall a grand musical gesture from a group I hope to hear more from very soon.