ALBUM REVIEW: Jeff Pennachio – Setting The Stage

Do you remember the days when a one man band was a guy with a big bass drum on his back, cymbals on the inside of his knees, a guitar in his hands and a harmonica mounted on a frame close to his face? To say things have moved on a bit would be a massive understatement. Obviously, technology allows this to happen by making it possible to lay down a track of one instrument, then the next, until you have a complete piece that can then be mixed together. Nonetheless, the theory is the same. One person playing numerous instruments to create a piece of music.

Jeff Pennachio, from New York State in the US, is the guitarist with metal group DESIGN THE VOID, has gone solo with this creation. He is responsible for everything in this EP; bass, drums, guitar and orchestral programming. When we use the phrase ‘Jack of all trades’, we usually follow it up with ‘master of none’. That’s certainly not the case when talking about Jeff Pennachio and the playing of instruments. From what I have witnessed here, he is the master of them all.

This may only be three tracks, and there are no lyrics for me to get into, it is however, a great taste of what this guy is all about. He clearly is ‘Setting The Stage’ for more to come.

Pennachio‘s influences are listed as DREAM THEATRE, PLINI and TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. As I’m not so familiar with these artists, for me personally, although I haven’t listened to anything by Joe Satriani for many years, it reminded me a little of him.

Pennachio is excited by his solo venture and is hopeful it will be well received so he can pursue it further, saying, “Should this ep ‘Setting The Stage’ be a successful release, it will certainly bring clarity to wanting to compose more of this type of music for all listeners”.

The music he plays with DESIGN THE VOID is obviously aimed at a very specific market, this solo work is sure to have a wider appeal. The tracks on this EP were inspired by film scores and soundtracks, also something that Pennachio would like to get more involved with.

Parts of the opening track Wilson Theatre, (which influenced the artwork for the EP) were originally developed when Pennachio played in a cover group called THE STAY between 2016 and 2018. The band were not so keen on playing original stuff, preferring to stick to covers, so this track progressed in the background over time, piece by piece, until it became the finished article that we can now listen to here.

The second track, Interposition is Pennachio’s favourite of the three and seems to be considered as the strongest, “I believe this sound really brands what I was after from a compositional standpoint”. Although the shortest at just three minutes thirty four seconds, I am in agreement.

Regarding the movie theme, I can definitely picture being in a cinema, at the end of a film as the credits roll, this music is playing, accompanying the audience as they gather their things and exit the theatre.

The final track, The Voyager was composed over the course of just a few days. This song blossomed from a new keyboard part that developed during a practice session into the track that brings down the curtain on ‘Setting The Stage’ and is seen by Jeff as the fitting finale to this compilation.

With this being an EP, it is just a short example of the talents of Jeff Pennachio. But it leaves you with no doubts about his ability to create quality music, this is perfectly showcased here.

Whether or not the future for this musician lies in releasing albums in this style, or he ends up working more in the film industry, I don’t know. What I do know is, Jeff Pennachio is a very talented one man band.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Dave Jones

Setting The Stage is out now.

Find Jeff Pennachio on Facebook.

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