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The Optimist

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Album Review

By the time New Young Pony Club’s second album, The Optimist, finally hit retailers in 2010, some pretty drastic changes had occurred. The band was no longer with Modular Records, it was basically down to a duo of vocalist Tahita Bulmer and multi-instrumentalist Andy Spence (though drummer Sarah Jones and keyboardist Lou Hayter do make cameo appearances), and most importantly, the adolescent swagger and goofiness of early songs like "Ice Cream" and "Jerk Me" had been replaced with a more subdued and adult feel. There is still plenty of spunk and snarl in Bulmer’s vocals, lots of angular funk in the rhythms, and more than enough hooks to go around, only this time there is a slick, studio-generated sheen on top of everything. Instead of the ESG influence that permeated Fantastic Playroom, perhaps a better reference this time would be Altered Images. And while they still channel Gang of Four at times, it’s more like late-period Gang of Four. This kind of retrenchment quite often spells doom for a band, with a tragically blanding out of its sound, removing the vital heart and inspiration that made it worth listening to in the first place. While a few NYPC fans who really loved "Ice Cream" might find The Optimist too smooth and a little studied at times, most people who hear the record will be won over by the high quality of the songs, Bulmer’s still captivating persona, and the tracks that have some of Fantastic Playroom’s dancefloor drive (like “We Want To” and “Chaos”) and sass (“Lost a Girl”). NYPC's surprisingly light touch on the couple of ballads (“Stone,” “Architect of Love”) they drop in the mix is also a strong selling point, and shows a level of depth that was missing in the past. It might have been nice if some of the wobbly giddiness of their previous work had transferred over to The Optimist, but it’s clear that the band is a different entity now, with a slightly darker outlook on life. They could have totally botched the transition from happy party kids to grownups; instead, they managed the switch quite masterfully. The Optimist won’t make anyone forget Fantastic Playroom, but it does work as a nice complement and shows that the group may have some staying power.

Customer Reviews


An excellent album!! Great follow up to Fantastic Playroom, I espically like We Want To!! Worth £7.99 with the two videos aswell!!

A Goldmine

This album is very good, alot of the tracks are excellent, the production values of the album is very much up there with the best of them! It is abit of a hidden gem we have here, and i sort of like that!

To highlight a track "Lost a girl" is a brilliant Album opener, it is very pacey with a great catchy vocal going on.

Alot of the Tracks are brilliant, very much worth buying and spreading the word!


Really love this album, such a huge huge leap forward from their first album! Every song has so much more depth and musical variety than their first album. The tunes are so catchy too, chaos swamp mix is stunning, architect of love is really soulful and the others are class too. Hopefully this album might finally break them into the proper mainstream where they deserve to be. Buy it!


Formed: 2004 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The London dance-rock group New Young Pony Club initially featured Tahita Bulmer (vocals), Andy Spence (guitar), Igor Volk (bass), Lou Hayter (keyboards), and Sarah Jones (drums). Inspired by LCD Soundsystem, the Stranglers, and Gang of Four, the band arrived with the release of the Ice Cream 7" in February 2005. The limited-edition pressing of 1,000 copies sold out in just three days, fueling New Young Pony Club's growing popularity among the U.K. music press and chic blogs. A deal with Modular...
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