Experienced musician and multi-instrumentalist based in New Jersey Cory Pensa’s new album “Night Light” is filled with vigour and some wise words of advice, yet still has adolescent angst to it.  

Impressively creating the entire album himself, from each instrument to the mixing of the songs, Cory Pensa’s enthusiasm and love for his music comes across blatantly on “Night Light” and this is something that’s always a joy to hear. Beginning with the strong opening track “No One’s Getting Out Of Here Alive” this song makes it abundantly clear to the listener that they’re listening to a rock album with its heavy guitar and a thunderous instrumental. With almost theatrically dramatic energy, particularly lyrically, this track sets the tone for the rest of the album.  

The following track “Something Beautiful” has the same rip-roaring and emotive touch but a more hopeful and optimistic message. With lyrics wisely speaking of sticking around and waiting for the good to follow the bad there’s enlightened bravery to the lyricism of Cory Pensa that reoccurs throughout the album. On later tracks such as “Never Let You Down” and “Not Your Man” Pensa’s words always encourage the listener to keep on going through the bad and stand up for themselves as well as the ones they love. From this sense of duty and responsibility, it’s easy to see how “Night Light” as an album was influenced heavily by Pensa’s relationship with his family. Other tracks on the album such as “Bonfires” reflect on Pensa’s time as a teenager and the lessons he learned on his personal journey through life so far whereas others such as “World In Our Hands” reflect more widely on human beings and how we haven’t as a society learned from our mistakes.  

With a consistent display of self-confident lyricism as well as raspy vocals and roaring guitars from Cory Pensa on “Night Light” it’s easy to see how he fits well into his genre of rock music. “Night Light” as an album is one that’s created to be played on stage with crowd-pleasing choruses and dynamic energy throughout. Particularly tracks such as “Afraid Of The Dark” and “Satisfied” strike me as being made for a live music experience with their electrifying nature.  

However, although Cory Pensa has some knowledgeable messages to spread in his music one of my biggest criticisms of this album lies in the vocal delivery which could do with some change in tone as the album progresses. Particularly when combined with sometimes melodramatic or corny lyricism such as on “One More Dance”, I find that this adds an unflatteringly angsty and exaggerated tint to some otherwise intimate tracks that often do tackle serious topics. Secondly, although there’s an infectious self-assurance and confidence in the way Pensa presents himself and his music “Night Lights” often lacks the boldness of innovation, sounding stereotypical and often quite predictable in its song structure and instrumentals. 

Overall, “Night Light” is an album that has some impressive features in its instrumental capability and live playability but is not one that stands out from the crowd in terms of its musical content. A lot of these tracks would have few problems played singularly to a live audience, but to create a less repetitive album and form his own unique sound there is much room for improvement.