Review by Sam McCann

Familiar under multiple monikers, Bristol’s prolific musician, songwriter and digital polymath Laura Kidd is back with a project that addresses our 21st century need for meaningful connection: Penfriend.

‘Black Car’ is the second release from Penfriend’s coming album, Exotic Monsters, with the title track (released 22 Jan 2021) introducing what is sure to be a poignant reflection of the isolation and disconnection brought about by the pursuit of happiness in a late-stage capitalist, mid-pandemic world.

‘Black Car’ is a haunting and expansive use of space. Dark and jarring guitar lines unsettle us while alien-like synth melodies mirror the dystopian lyrics; a cohesive reminder to “keep your loved ones close” as the world around us becomes increasingly unfamiliar and frightening.

Despite the heavy subject matter, Kidd provides a necessary injection of comfort, warmth and honesty with ‘Black Car’, and a much-missed sense of solidarity and empathy for the year that’s in it.