Penetration were outsiders as they certainly punched with punk power but they also had alternative rock leanings before that term was even coined. Their 1976-1979 existence led to a brace of supreme studio albums and a handful of potent singles. 2016 survivors Pauline Murray and Robert Blamire plus their yesteryear cohorts had far more to fire out of their sonic cannon than sub three minute gung ho garage-and, along with contemporaries such as Magazine a more expansive sound unfortunately did not lend itself to mass commercial success. However, since a 2001 return Penetration has put in the miles on the road and their devoted disciples are delighted to witness an act that can still cut the mustard. A more erudite mantra still stands the test of time and whether it is a blast of bombast or an arsenal of adventure our friends from the north delivered their dexterity at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff.
The band gave examples that their songwriting skills are in shape with a selection of songs from the acclaimed 2015 comeback album Resolution (recorded a staggering 36 years after the previous work). The evening kicked off with a batch of fresh songs and they show that Penetration have new tricks up their sleeve as displayed by Instrumantra, Betrayed!, Just Drifting, Aguila, Beat goes On and Sea Song.
It was obvious that the seventies anthems would receive a rousing reception and it was a case of onwards and upwards. Life’s a Gamble arrived as the atmosphere soared and its siblings maintained the momentum. Nostalgia, Movement, Free Money, Silent Community, Danger Signs, Come in to the Open and Shout above the Noise hit home with atomic aplomb
In between there was some bonus fun. The public gets what the public wants and some got more than they had anticipated. Rhondda’s own Nigel Simcox was briefly handed the microphone and on occasion two his battle cry to the band anthem Don’t Dictate and post number speech added to the entertainment.
A tight knit crowd of fans who went way back with the band showed their appreciation of Penetration and an encore was forthcoming in the click of a finger. This added pleasure meant the appearance of more memories in the form of Firing Squad and Stone Heroes before Pauline and her posse said their goodbyes courtesy of current favourite Calm before the Storm.
A five piece Penetration made a mark at The Globe in the Welsh capital in 2014 and their recent return also left an indelible imprint. Let’s hope that Penetration will return and once again dazzle us with their Future Daze.