As always Peña is dealing with bigger issues here. Where others are happy to write songs about relationship trouble, about temporary emotional issues and the pointless minutiae of everyday modern life, he prefers to tackle more complex themes such as the covert machinations happening out of sight of the person in the street but which are the real driving forces of the world around us. Heavy stuff? Certainly but his skill with a turn of phrase enables him to engage the subject poetically and with such deft and often graceful music as the delivery system for such a discussion, the song works on two levels. Engage with the song fully and you will find, as with all of the songs released from the album so far, something important, poignant and perfectly timed being discussed. Chose to listen from a distance and you still encounter a great alt-rock song, one built from clever dynamic and gloriously sweeping music.
But that would be to miss the point of course and Peña’s whole drive seems to be making people think about wider, deeper and more complex issues. It would be very easy to write off the world’s current problems of increased nationalism and isolation, greed and division merely as politics at play, but what he understands fully is that those are the symptoms not the cause and asks you to look closer and deeper at what games are being played, what strings are being pulled by the actual powers behind the throne. Music can often make you feel, but less often does it make you think. Thankfully here we have an artist capable of making you do both.
This time out
Ignacio Peña pauses for breath somewhat with a song that mixes occasional soaring crescendos with more measured and lulling musical passages. She’s Bleeding, another song taken from the forthcoming Songs For the Fall of an Empire, is all about dynamics, about light and shade, power and pause, about understanding that if you start from a musical low point, with respect to impact and volume, when you do go for the big chord, the big hit, it is all the more effective for the distance covered.