Their debut single, "Don't Dictate", is now acknowledged as a classic punk rock single and their debut album, Moving Targets (1978), is still widely admired.
The band's lineup was lead singer Pauline Murray, Robert Blamire (bass), Gary Smallman (drums) and Gary Chaplin (guitar). Chaplin left in March 1978 being replaced with Neale Floyd, with second guitarist Fred Purser joining in July. The band dissolved in late 1979. They reformed in 2001 with original members Murray, Blamire and Smallman, and Steve Wallace and Paul Harvey drafted in as new guitarists.
Formed in Ferryhill as The Points under which name they played their first gig at the Rock Garden pub in Middlesbrough in October 1976, they changed the band's name after a 1973 song by Iggy & The Stooges. Their second gig was supporting The Stranglers at Newcastle City Hall. Significantly, the band also played at the now-legendary punk club The Roxy during its first 100 days. On 9 April 1977, the band appeared on the same bill as Generation X. Early in their career, the band also supported The Vibrators and toured with the Buzzcocks.
After the release of their second single, Penetration recorded the first of two sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 in July 1978. Later that year, the band released their debut album. Moving Targets was number 6 in the Sounds Critics' albums of the year; and it made number 13 in the NME critics' chart.
In 1979, they toured Europe, the US and Britain but the grueling schedule began to take its toll. A disappointing reaction to Coming Up For Air, the second album, was the final nail in the coffin of the original band. After the band split in October an official bootleg album called Race Against Time was released, which was a collection of early demos and live tracks.