Ponytails - Ponytails

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:7 Release Date:2017-12-08
Ponytails
Ponytails

In this glut of available releases, what should a band do when their labour of love sinks down to the bottom of the sea without even getting a wink of a notice outside their backyard? Well, if they’re sure of themselves and believe in their music, they reissue the damn thing!

That is basically the story through which the Vancouver quartet Ponytails went through. The band got together in March of 2016, went into the studio six months later, and issued their EP in November of that year. Maybe there was a ripple in Vancouver, but anywhere else, nothing. So I guess it was the sea (or an ocean, to be precise) where their EP sunk. But since they believed in it, here it is again, rescued and reissued, ‘spanking new’ (more or less). The key question remains though, should the band’s frontman Harvey Merritt, who otherwise scales granite walls and cuts hair, stuck to his day job, or is this EP worth the gamble? No easy answer right off though.

Ponytails have a quite a laidback sound, somewhere on the edges of countrified psychedelia, that by its atmosphere is reminiscent of the Grateful Dead in their American Beauty/Workingman’s Dead era. No vocal harmonies, but quite a lot of echoing, chiming guitar licks. In no way, an imitation, just a lot of laidback grooves that pick up the tempo here and there (“Love To You”, “Old Ways”) and can remind us about all that is good about current all-around faves, War On Drugs, albeit with a bit more stripped down arrangements. But, by going at it in a somewhat slower manner, these six songs are not something that immediately grabs you by the throat; rather working on you at their own pace. Songs like the opener “Despair” or “Next Time” manage to sneak up on you over time.

Nothing monumental, but something that might tickle your fancy during those rainy autumn mornings. In the end, was it worth putting it out again? There is something here that could be musically attractive, but it requires brush-ups here and there to make it really good. Still, an interesting release that might point to a promising band.

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