The second album by French electro-pop duo The Penelope[s] is futuristic dance rock 'n' soul at its funkiest. With song titles that would give Brian Eno a boner (Epiphany Part II [Drifting Away]), this sophomore offering is a space-disco concept album high in energy and rich in audio pleasure. I don't know if they have socials on the Starship Enterprise, but if they do then Never Live Another Yesterday is what Spock and his intergalactic pals get down to. Having relocated from their native Paris to London in 2011, The Penelopes decided to ditch their bedroom electronica sound in favour of a more commercial, more organic sound for album two. Producer Dan Grech-Marguerat (The Vaccines, Scissor Sisters) has perfectly achieved the delicate balance of dance and funk sugar-coated in dreamy pop. Although the album lingers dangerously close to the land of cheese at times, it never quite crosses the border, leaving it free to be filed in the psychedelic hipster section (if you can find it). Album opener and recent single Summer Life introduces us to the twinkly keyboards and disco basslines that stitch the record together. Singer Axel Basquiat broods like a low-register Prince as he reminisces about lazy summer days spent messing around in the sun. It's a feel good festival anthem of the future. The Penelopes pop sensibilities shine through on second single Sally in the Galaxy. This is a song that guarantees to fill any dance floor in the known universe. A funky guitar line and a chorus catchier than the common cold take the listener on a journey through '70s disco to '80s synthesizers to present day electro-hipster production. The music video is equally as delightful. Imagine being sucked into a Lichtenstein, chewed up, funked up, and spat out after three minutes and fifty-six seconds, if you can. Although The Penelopes only cite British bands as influences (Joy Division, New Order, Primal Scream), the French connection to bands like Air and Phoenix is not lost in translation. When the album gets as down-tempo as it goes on Now Now Now, the female backing vocals give the song more than a passing resemblance to Air's Sexy Boy. What concept album would be complete without a self-indulgent, probably recorded whilst high at three in the morning, four-minute long synthesized frenzy with no lyrics? That's right, none. This job falls to The Sweet Song (Fukushima Mon Amour). It's not sweet, but it's definitely Fukushima. It may sound like the title of the next James Bond movie, but Never Live Another Yesterday is a well-crafted album with some catchy melodies and foot-tapping hooks. Beam me up Penelopes. 9/10 Jon Langford
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.