Gazey spirits Pencey Sloe propel into embracing one’s identity on tranquil second album ‘Neglect’

Photo by Nicolas Di Vincenzo

One’s identity should be something in which we feel secure and are allowed to pursue and understand, but you know what happens when get other people involved in that exploration. Political and societal pressure often plays a role, as do our friends and families (both for the good and bad), and the ability to be one’s true self isn’t always easy, especially when people try to shout down who you really are.

That can be an exhausting thing to experience, and “Neglect,” the second record from dream gazers Pencey Sloe, examines that very thing. While these 10 songs can be serene and even pull your attention to more comfortable thoughts, built into this is that struggle to find one’s identity and be confident in what that is. The band—Diane Pellotieri (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards) and Clément Hateau (drums, bass, keyboards)—sinks deep into the fog and unravels the layers, bringing on some special guests (more on that soon) and darkening their edges to help you experience the storm but not go too far off the deep end into threatening waters.

“What They Need” opens in a deep, obscured dream, the playing dripping in and activating your cells. Pellotieri’s singing flutters as the playing gets even more immersive, sending off gazey fire and fading into darkness. “Smile to Zero” brings echoing guitars and spirited emotion, pushing you and playing with tension. The playing treads in shadows, melting ice caps, and the powerful singing sends shivers through your body. The title lets guitars poke into your ribs, and a dreamy phase gets inside you and converts your blood. Things sweep into mystery as the guitars numb and travel through the murk and into moody noise. “Mirror Rorrim” is airy and takes its time setting its pace, and the singing haunts and shakes you to the core. Pellotieri floats as if on a cloud above your head, the waters rush and leave you shivering, and things melt into a new tributary that lets you float into forever. “Sigh” is a murky instrumental with keys glazing and your mind slowly melting, pushing into cooler waters that cover you and leave you refreshed.

“The Run .I” features Niege from Alcest and Benjamin Marius Petit on electric keys, and they instantly set up a shimmery world, guitars rising and making your adrenaline surge. Niege and Pellotieri combine voices that create something otherworldly, the playing mesmerizes, and things gently drip out and into “The Run .II” that has Justin K. Broadrick of Godlfesh and Jesu sharing vocals. The playing is soothing and psychologically stimulating, the vibe lightly taps on and eases your anxiety, and everything disappears behind a stormfront. “Brutal in Red” instantly situates itself in the air as the singing gently moves, numbing and creating a strange miasma. The dark elements thicken and tease, the vocals take a turn for the hypnotic, and everything washes out into the sea. “Reversed Backwards” calmy moves and gets its hooks in you, the guitars glowing and Pellotieri’s singing again taking you on a journey. The storm coverage thickens and mars the sun as things keep pushing forward and melting with supernatural forces. Closer “Inner” starts with quiet guitars and a tempo that dissolves deliberately, Pellotieri calling, “There’s no way I’ll be there for you, I believe it’s time to go.” Time seems to dissolve in the universe, bells chime, and final gasps of distortion let the glowing embers liquify through time.

“Neglect” certainly provides a feast of thought over these 10 songs that can make you question your place in the universe and even in your own life. Pencey Sloe provide a calming, tranquil territory in which to examine these things and question your own identity and how you’ve come to understand that. It’s not necessarily a comfortable question to tackle, and you might see shades of yourself you didn’t expect, but these 10 gifts are here to pull back your blood pressure and make you see this adventure is something that ultimately should give you a better understanding of yourself.

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