Baltimore noise-poppers stay fast, cheap and outta control on sophomore LP
As of right now, there are exactly three bands on the We Are Free label. One is Indian Jewelry, a trippy noise-rock band. The other is Yeasayer, a trippy drone-rock band. The third is Baltimore’s Ponytail, a trippy noise-pop band. See a pattern? We Are Free seems to care less about genre constraints than derangement, however you wanna get there, whether it’s Indian Jewelry’s psychotic slogans, Yeasayer’s ceremonial polyrhythms, or Ponytail’s gouts of glitter. Whether or not you actually enjoy Ponytail’s sophomore record, Ice Cream Spiritual, it will make you feel a little crazed. Mission accomplished.
Ponytail sounds like a very Baltimore-now kind of band, as its music is suffused with the maniacal energy and garish colors synonymous with Dan Deacon and his Wham City crew. But where Deacon prefers to rock the body via knob-twiddling on massive FX racks, Ponytail does it with guitars, drums and a singer whose primary influences appear to be the punctured helium balloon and the slide whistle. At its most coherent, the band sounds like Fiery Furnaces being electrocuted. At its most unhinged, Ponytail sounds like Deerhoof and Be Your Own Pet fighting each other with lightsabers.
Spaz-punk rhythms careen out of control as bright, manic melodies glint through. The overall effect skirts the line between galvanizing—Ponytail has raised the bar for “energetic” bands—and enervating, as shuddering scraps of metal and punk and art-damaged pop whiz by at an astonishing clip. Not recommended for people with heart conditions or pregnant mothers, but for those of you looking for visceral thrills, this is it.