Ponytail, the newest addition to Baltimore label We*Are*Free (who happened to put out one of my favorite albums last year — Yeasayer‘s All Hour Cymbals), is poised to release their sophomore full-length, Ice Cream Spiritual. These guys and gal are creating some joyous, noise-driven chaos in a surprisingly original way. Start trying to come up with fitting comparisons and you’ll realize that you can get pretty close, but even the bands that come the closest are a bit of a stretch. Maybe Kyoto’s Limited Express (Has Gone?) at their most chaotic? How about Deerhoof? At certain moments, perhaps. And I’d say they share some sensibilities with No Age… but, for the most part, Ponytail is out there on their own.
Though certainly an awesome album all together, the highlight of Ice Cream Spiritual is probably the epic “Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came from an Angel)”. As the most varied song on the record, it finds Ponytail teetering between staggered moments of calm or crescendo and full-on aural assault. Dual guitars forge some kind of sun-soaked noise-pop aggression, drums and cymbals respond in kind, and Molly Sigel’s vocal work remains largely sporadic and improvisational, at times more reminiscent of a wild animal than a human voice. Undoubtedly inspired by Yoko Ono, she primarily relies on wordless caterwauls and croons, yet comes off a little bit more merciful. A little bit. And you gotta love that this seven-minute clusterfuck is what they chose for their first single. I’d call it a bold choice, but honestly, for this record it’d be difficult to choose a song that wouldn’t be.
I’m not sure how you make such a cacophonous album so captivating, but I must have listened to this thing five times in a row when I first heard it. A band worth checking out, to say the least.