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Laced With Romance

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Album Review

With their blasts of fuzzy guitar, '60s-inspired melodic hooks, and occasional bursts of Farfisa organ, it would be easy to file the Ponys in with the current crop of punk-leaning nuevo garage bands. Then again, it wouldn't be especially accurate — while the Ponys no doubt dig garage rock, a spin of their debut album, Laced With Romance, suggests they've been listening to the Velvet Underground, the Cure, early Pere Ubu, My Bloody Valentine, and the Jesus and Mary Chain more than the Sonics or the Seeds. And while their influences certainly seep through the cracks, the Ponys certainly have ideas and ambitions all their own, and the buzzy blur of Laced With Romance obeys a post-teenage aural logic of their own making. There's a heady joy to the Ponys' music, but there's also more than a bit of menace in Jered Gummere's yelping vocals, the ringing single-note lines of Ian Adams' guitar, and the snappy wallop of the rhythm section. And while the songs sound catchy and engaging on the surface, there's a messed-up undercurrent that periodically bobs to the surface on tunes like "10 Fingers 11 Toes," "Let's Kill Ourselves," and "Looking Out a Mirror." (The echoed layers of Jim Diamond's production certainly add to the album's impact.) Laced With Romance brings to mind the psychedelic ideal of music for the mind and body, but instead of calling out to some imagined land of peace and flowers, the Ponys want to create a little downtown Chicago in your head, where all is loud, frantic, and gloriously dirty, and the result is a one-way voyage you'll want to take more than once.

Biography

Formed: 2001 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Chicago post-punk revivalists the Ponys formed in early 2001, inaugurated by singer/guitarist Jered Gummere in the months prior to dissolution of his previous project, local punk unit the Guilty Pleasures. He began writing and singing with girlfriend and bassist Melissa Elias, and after adding former Mushuganas drummer Nathan Jerde, the Ponys began playing the Windy City club circuit. The late 2002 addition of one-time Happy Supply singer/multi-instrumentalist Ian Adams radically reconfigured the...
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Laced With Romance, The Ponys
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