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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Ponys
Celebration Castle
In the Red Records

Rating: 9/10 ?


September 2, 2005
For those of you who have been introduced to the Ponys through prose alone, know that everything you've read is true. Their sound is like a mix of the Cure and the Voidoids and My Bloody Valentine, and it's hard to say what has not already been said, in that they make this fusion sound innovative and invigorated, even if directly and plainly influenced. None of this can be denied, but what should be said - and emphasized to the Nth degree - is how good it is. Every track is set to arrest your pulse for brief moments, only to make it quicken upon release. It's a delightful predicament for a critic to be in, in that there are so many highlights, it's hard to choose what to touch upon.

Beginning with the bona fide epic, "Glass Conversation," this powerhouse rolls into what could be a long lost Robert Smith pop song, "Another Wound", which shows the band's sun-battered warmth and their capacity to be retiring and brazen in exciting turns. The jumpy swagger of "Today" follows with capricious, youthful wit but, while infectiously bopping and taking jabs, it is never silly. It purely captures the energy of joyful, grateful music-making; it's clear Celebration Castle sounds vibrant because the Ponys love what they do.

Next up, "I'm With You" can't help but unassumingly steal the show, as its infectious hand claps and daydreaming reflectiveness play kissing cousins to "Close to Me"; it is certainly one of the best love songs to come out in a long while, and earns this distinction by way of cascading, accessible post-rock, hushed truisms and thrilling pop sensibilities. "We Shot the World" follows immediately with spine-tingling tension, enough to take you by surprise after such a romantic display - which is precisely the point. As "Shadowbox" rolls out a blood-in-mouth Clash tribute with elastic guitars and approachable cool, we know that the fashion of the day looks good on the Ponys without spite or pretension. They are hip but not hipsters, cool but not cooler-than-thou; add this to their ability to shatter expectations and amalgamate near-unattainable influences, and it's hard to keep your jaw from sweeping the floor.

A pouncing, garage-bound sock hop with razor sharp, anthemic guitars ("Get Black") and a fiercely propelled, dramatic finale (the aptly named, heroically played "Ferocious") round out the album, and while the leftover track, "She's Broken", would normally sound out of place as the only spacey, feminine experiment on the album, it does not falter. Even when turning their own formula inside out to include hints of X-Ray Spex and Broken Social Scene - as "She's Broken" assuredly does - rather than being odd or off, it's just one more thing the Ponys do bewilderingly well. There's not a detraction to be made toward this album; the fact that the Ponys still have more left in them - that growth from here is even possible - is a sheer thrill. If you're looking for a roaring, well-executed good time, look no further: the Ponys are practically peerless. Their noble goal is to make you excited about music again, and it's very likely they will.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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