The Ponys – Turn The Lights Out (2007): Review

ponys

Produced by John Agnello and The Ponys
Label – Matador

Agreed, there’s nothing unique about The Ponys’ sparse lo-fi sound, but what the Chicago four piece have in spades is an ability to use the obvious references and influences to produce music that retains enough raw edged sincerity to cut through the obvious comparisons, and third album “Turn The Lights Out” is a solid follow up to 2005’s “Celebration Castle”. Producer John Angello has streamlined the sound a little, and the band sound tighter than before, but the changes don’t significantly alter the bare garage rock, driving rhythms, reverberated guitar and Jered Gunmere’s echo strewn vocals. Some will argue that there is little of the more explorative instrumental work of their two previous recordings, but for this reviewer the fuller sound and more rigid song structure shows a band that are evolving and progressing with each release. It’s still deliberately uncomplicated, and the band will never get away from the Sonic Youth tag, but their musical horizons seem to add in the low brow pre grunge fuzz of The Jesus And Mary Chain, with pumped up bass effects and atmospheric timing.

ponys

Brian Case’s strong guitar melodies are littered throughout much of “Turn The Lights Out” aiding and abetting Gunmere’s lingering echoes, and “Shine” with its excellent double lead instrumental, the more urgent, driving rhythms of “1209 Seminary” and the crisply melodic “Small Talk”, all show a band that are writing with a consistent maturity, and although the album lacks a couple of vitally defining tracks, there’s no creative lethargy and enough to keep the traditional and new fans perfectly satisfied.

Progression is a rare beast these days, and for that reason “Turn The Lights Out” has the potential to become extremely enduring in its positive musical evolution.

7/10

Track Listing
1.”Double Vision” – 3:37
2.”Everyday Weapon” – 2:16
3.”Small Talk” – 4:13
4.”Turn the Lights Out” – 2:36
5.”1209 Seminary” – 3:06
6.”Shine” – 4:21
7.”Kingdom of Hearts” – 2:04
8.”Poser Psychotic” – 3:45
9.”Exile on My Street” – 2:21
10.”Harakiri” – 3:28
11.”Maybe I’ll Try” – 2:56
12.”Pickpocket Song” – 6:52

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