The Penny Drops are a loose conglomeration of musicians and songwriters under the careful eye and direction of JK.
Good Fortunes contains two CD's - Day Play (recommended for waking/washing up, general activities, sunny weather etc.)...
and Night Play (for before bed, afternoon naps, slow sexual encounters etc.). It is a vast and expansive musical journey,
covering many musical styles and genres. This is an incredible musical journey filled with beautiful melodies and challenging songs.
If you can't find something on this CD to like, forever fill your ears with wax and burn your CD player!
From Old Beginnings...
Soon after the shelving of the Bhagavad Guitars Introversion recordings Jeremy Butterworth and JK went into the studio to start work on some more songs. One of these songs was a reworking of the Bhagavad's "See-Saw" (from the Headland EP) using loops in place of drums for the first time.
Are We Having Fun Yet?
Some time later, after recording the Reckless Kelly soundtrack with SK, Boris Goudonof, then running the studio, which was to become Karmic Hit, started work on a new project with JK and Jeremy Butterworth; the Penny Drops. The idea was to challenge themselves as songwriters and produce a diverse range of songs and, most importantly, to have some fun in the process.
The first track they started on was "Everyone Deserves a Prize" which JK and JB had recently written. Boris brought along a grab bag of ideas and methodologies and they quickly worked through five tracks; revamping the reworking of "See-Saw" and writing "It's That Time of the Month Again", "The Declaration" and a track called "Dion" which ended up appearing on the Bhagavad's Hypnotised CD.
And Then There Was One
JB moved up the coast to become a father while BG became embroiled in any number of other projects (immediately - Warp Factor 9). This left JK at the helm and the already recorded Penny Drops EP was used as the basis for the album.
Slow and Steady
Recording during KH studios downtime, (when no one else is in there) JK set about creating a huge and involved musical landscape. Inspired by a Beach Boys Smile bootleg, JK became obsessed with pulling out all stops to make a special album.
The roller coaster starts gently, with a quick and polite introduction to the Penny Drops. After the initial 30 secs of chanting and a cough, the disc starts with a sing-a-long recorded at JK's 29th Birthday Party. Among the merry singers SK can be heard in one speaker saying "Tiny Tot", for reasons known only to him. The music was written for a TV theme and rejected. RK can be heard playing a blistering guitar solo at the end of the track.
"So let us begin, from here at the start, deliver your ears and hearts to us, well how do you like it so far?."
2. Everyone Deserves A Prize
The music for this was written wholly by JB except for the middle eight. Beatlesque to say the least this is a fairly representative track of the whole album, at least in as much as what not to expect. There was no great scheme to have it sound so Lennon but once the association had been made...
"I never wanted to force a division and you know I won't try, everyone's a winner, at least in your eyes and everyone deserves a prize."
3. On A See-Saw
This track started out as a jerky pop song on the Bhagavad Guitars first EP - Foreverglades. Changed in nearly every way this song went through many versions until settling at the released one. Loosely based on the notion of alien abduction, this was written wholly under the guidelines set out in the KLF's "The Manual - How to Have a No.1 the Easy Way". Still waiting...
"They want us to be their playground, they want us to play hide and seek, it sure is a strange world... on a see-saw."
4. It's That Time Of The Month Again
JB and JK were moved by a "sensitive new age guy" type of a book during this part of the recording (which was, by the by, recorded in the order that the songs appear on the finished disc). A section which particularly interested JK recounted of an ancient tribe which lived "normally" until the three days of the full moon. Then the men would take refuge in a temple and meditate whilst the women partied hard on the hilltop. At the height of their intoxicated frenzy they would cover themselves in the blood of a virgin goat, storm the temple and fuck senseless the first man they saw. This song is an invocation to reinstall these glorious days...Later, the song was used as the theme to a short film JK was involved in making, called "It's That Time of the Month Again". It features the debut acting performance of one SK as a figure of terror...
"It 's that time of the month again, it's that time of the month again."
5. The Declaration
This is a beautiful song, made special by the vocal performance of Gemma Deacon. JB and JK came up with the lyrics after the above mentioned book. The track features purring from Tiddles and subliminal sutras. The strange pipe like sound that forms the basis of the track is an Omnitron, a JK invention.
"I hereby reclaim my rights, that I am both self and shadow, I embrace both dark and light and need only myself to follow...."
6. The Lock
This, along with "Love Drifted South" and "Love's Particular", was written in one fell swoop with Ian Shadwell and Gemma Deacon. The songs are the result of a game which JK tenaciously clung to with a wild fervour. Here, a strange throw away song is transformed into a mini opera of huge proportions. Blink and you'll miss it, listen and be baffled at its structure...
"You built the lock, you gave the key, undressed me!."
7. Love Drifted South
This is a laid back sixties type of thing with a great melody and JK doing harmonies to Gemma's glorious voice. Written simultaneously with "The Lock" and "Love's Particular", this track is the straight cousin of those two songs.
"Drifted south over Antarctica, been time been places, I've been south before, left before you ever bored me, stupid bored...."
8. Stress Hangover
This is the centerpiece of the album, a long and involved suite in its own right based on the Beach Boys' "Surf's Up". JK wrote and lost the music and had to rewrite it again from scratch. RK adds some soulful vocals. This song was attempted briefly by "Ball Losing Carrot"; the Kilbey Brothers aborted all-in-one band.
"Decay is the midwife of all great things, so child come back you're out on the rocks and you're freezing."
9. Love's Particular
Here we have a strange and pumping two minute mini opera. JK again interested in making music based on unusual song structures. For some reason a lot of people think this track sounds like Bowie...
"Hark the Herald Angels, mark the troubled angles...."
10. An Ocean To Cynthia
Written on piano for all the girls he has never known, JK almost overdoses on the overdubs and racks up some eight part harmonies with himself. Featuring a live string quintet and thumb tack piano...
"And gardens for Jennifer, to vine around her feet, with blossoms to rain over her and soften all her needs."
One of three covers on the album. This piece was inspired by JK's flatmate at the time whom was playing this from an old piano exercise book. Written by Stravinsky, it should be much faster than it appears here but JK liked the sound of someone learning to play it. This is the albums interlude.
12. Happy Hallelujah!
Written with the same "game" technique as "The Lock" etc., this time with a group of school kids. The results are somehow melancholy, in the way only children know how to be. Listen for the exquisite antique cup smashing by Caroline Trengove.
"I remember joyful days and joyful pride...."
Originally recorded by the Bhagavad's during the Hypnotised sessions, this song is reworked into a rocking three stage hoe-down on all things paranoid. The "building stations on the moon and taking all the girls" line refers to a British TV mockumentary called "Alternative 3".
"Have you ever had the feeling, papers are full of disinformation, there's no hot water and someone's hidden your wallet, are you worried about a hidden agenda?"
14. Good As Gold
An old song written during the Bhagavad spell. Nice three part harmonies here and a light and breezy acoustic feel. Some say this is their favourite on the album.
"Flowers fell from her hair, surrounded by scent I resign to succumb...."
As with the other songs in this phase, Lucid was written during the Bhagavad years and attempted on occasion. Inspired by lucid dreaming, when the dreamer is aware of their dreamstate and able to 'control' the dream. The vocal for this, as with the other two in this phase, was recorded as the bed (first) along with the acoustic guitar.
"You came around the other night, woke me with a rock on my front door, so I asked you inside and gave you a chair, I kept conversation from the clothes you don't wear..."
16. I'm Confessin'/ 17. Medley
These tracks are built around the solo piano recordings made by Les Kilbey in the 1940's. Finding the original lyrics and adding the other instruments, JK recreates eerily the sounds of a forgotten era. LK's voice can be heard adding comments along the way.