Is there anything left to be said about Prince, Elvis Presley, Steely Dan or Charlie Parker? As it turns out, plenty. These collected essays are thoughtful and heartfelt takes on a musical Mount Rushmore that tries to understand musicians as only a deep fan can. Penman's metaphors are as sharp as his wit, and he has a detective's eye for the telling detail. From a memorable image like Elvis going on a drug-fuelled visionquest in the desert to Parker conducting his life from the backseat of a cab to Prince regarding himself in a bathroom mirror, Penman mines facets that will send anybody who loves music back to their stack of vinyl. Hear with new ears.— Charles Bottomley
When all else fails, when our compass is broken, there is one thing some of us have come to rely on: music really can give us a sense of something like home. With It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track, legendary music critic Ian Penman reaches for a vanished moment in musical history when cultures collided and a certain kind of cross-generational and 'cross-colour' awareness was born. His cast of characters includes the Mods, James Brown, Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Fahey, Steely Dan and Prince - black artists who were innovators, and white musicians who copied them for the mainstream. In 'prose that glides and shimmies and pivots on risky metaphors, low puns and highbrow reference points' (Brian Dillon, frieze), Ian Penman's first book in twenty years is cause for celebration.