If ever you wanted proof of the pernicious effect of London on the cultural life of the nation, Jack Penate is it. In any other town in the country, Penate would be condemned to a life of spirit crushing toilet venue anonymity until he finally jacked it in and got a job in a call centre instead.
Tragically, Penate lives in London, home to the largest and most productive turd-polishing industry on the planet. Consequently, where there should be rejection, indifference and despair, we find A&R men, record deals and radio play.
If you wanted to say anything nice about Be The One (and there’s no real reason why you should), you could note that it’s not as grotesquely awful as, say, Torn On The Platform. But as comparisons, go we’re in Mussolini-not-as-bad-as-Hitler territory here.
Essentially Penate appears to have listened back to Matinee and gone ‘I know what this needs! More Spandau Ballet!’
Horrible grating horns underpin Penate’s new-found 80s-ish croon, which presumably is meant to convey a new sense of seriousness but actually makes him sound even more of a tit than on Matinee. This woefully ill-advised foundation is then over-burdened with more self-importance than you could shake a Bloc Party album at. Nonsense like “we asked the church to save our souls, they said we were too early and to join the fold” neatly demonstrates that you can take the singer-songwriter out of the sixth form, but you can’t take the godawful sixth form poetry out of the singer-songwriter.