Ponies in the Surf
Ponies in the Surf's Ponies on Fire channels the very best from the warm, fuzzy canon of lo fi, indie folk and chamber pop. While in many ways an archetypal "twee" pop release - hushed, fey boy/girl vocals, gentle rolls of acoustic guitar and an ever-present film of reverb, Ponies on Fire somehow transcends the trappings of genre with subtle, genius songwriting, ubiquitous melodies, and impeccable arrangements. Opener "Joe" is a whispered pop gem, evoking the most infectious and lovable aspects of early Belle and Sebastian and the Aisler Set. No drums, no elaborate synth arrangements - just a hazy mist of acoustic guitar, gentle bass, late-60's organ and airy vocals. "Little Boy Lost" is steeped in atmosphere and melody, while "Fairy in My House" has more of a gentle, pop candy feel. "Slow Down Sugar" is an embarrassment of moody riches, as if Camille & Alexander McGregor, the couple behind the Ponies, know how to do little else than toss out the soft light soundtracks to our lives. Camille's echoed vocals permeate every nook in the mix, gently smothering the sparse acoustic guitar tasked with outlining the chord changes. Not content to only soundtrack our lives, Ponies in the Surf seem to anticipate a slot in some yet-to-be-made Wes Anderson film with the majestic "Gov't Brand #2". Everything works on this album, no song falls flat, no melody fails to charm and each track varies just enough from the others to keep the listener anticipating all 13 entries. Even a usually distracting piano instrumental track, appropriately titled "Piano Intermission," works some magic on the listener.
This is truly a remarkable release and one bound for further renown. More than anything, Ponies on Fire is an album with a definite aesthetic, an ambitious yet precise statement fueled by two talented musicians and a vintage Sansomite travel case full of inspiration. Hurry up and get your own (hand-made!) copy from Asaurus™ before "first pressings" disappear into the ether. Asaurus has spent the last few years incubating the finest in homemade brilliance, from Pants Yell! to Black Spartacus to the Capstan Shafts (we best not forget Elliott the Letter Ostrich!!) - and Ponies on Fire could be their defining release, a perfect specimen in their unparalleled collection of modern lo fi artifacts.
Sha-Sha Rooney! :: (on thee April of O'Six)