I’ve had a hectic morning, but Penny and Sparrow are calming me down. The Austin-based duo plays quiet-yet-sweeping acoustic singer/songwriter tunes that elevate sadness to majestic levels on Tenboom. The Swell Seasons, Damien Rice, and Ray LaMontagne are quick comparisons, as the soaring opener “Just and Just As” creates the same sense of passionate, earnest romance that makes it hard for me to listen to LaMontagne when I’m not in a relationship.
Not all of the arrangements shoot for torrential emoting; “Brothers” sounds like a very chill version of Mumford and Sons, while the separated chords of “Heroes and Monsters” reminds me of old-school Bon Iver. But the lyrics stay very much in an emotional vein, culminating in the heartrending storytelling duo of “Patience, First” and “Patience, Please.” Penny and Sparrow note in their bio that they like musicals, and there are definite overtures toward that style of writing in “Patience, First”; it also explains some of the huge vocal lines. If you’re into deeply emotive singer/songwriter fare, then Penny and Sparrow will be the next big thing for you.