Album Review:  Penumbra Lounge – May Devun

Hailing from sunny Southern California, May Devun is pretty much known for her critically acclaimed progressive metal pieces, through her debut album. So for those who know the composer and guitarist may raise their eyebrows at her latest effort, which comes in the form of a nine-track collection, titled “Penumbra Lounge”.

At the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum, the album is described as displaying flashes of alternative soul, R&B and ‘Baroque pop’ and with occasionally stripped back performances often executed by the sweetness of the piano.

Released on Friday, “Penumbra Lounge” starts off with “Echoes in the Dark”. Showcasing an intense, downtempo bassline with atmospheric overtones, May’s mysterious vocals makes the whole composition captivating. The downtempo drive continues with “Somebody to Love” with the piano offering some lightness and also injecting a little funk.

The album takes an unexpected twist through “Only Fool Here”. The dense trademark is replaced with a rather chirpy and finger clicking piece with Devun’s vocals becoming a real powerhouse. “The Boy (He Loves Me)” continues to provide that eyebrow-raising surprise through an alluring blues/jazz fusion with the heavy drive making a return. Possibly the must listen track of the album.

Approaching to the end, it could be argued that “Penumbra Lounge” has some traces of the British trip hop duo Massive Attack. “Song About the Feels” enters into a slight dispositioned arrangements of the heaviness of the bass with violins and drums creating a pleasant ambient pop vibe.

Although (in my opinion) there were no traces of soul or R&B whatsoever in “Penumbra Lounge”, there are some outstanding fusions that Devun can definitely call her own and deserves a standing ovation.