April 10, 2011

Album Review: Ponytail's Do Whatever You Want All the Time


Last year, Dustin Wong announced that he and his band, Ponytail, were calling it a day. The news was disappointing to say the least since the promising young act was just beginning to make a dent in the music scene with two solid albums filled with art rock ambitions. Luckily for us, Ponytail gave that decision some careful reconsideration and has regrouped for their third and most enjoyable album to date, Do Whatever You Want All of the Time. Here, the Baltimore act finally achieves a final destination of sorts by marrying their stream-of-conscious experimentation with melodic noise pop to create an effort that's both cohesive and challenging to listeners. Opening track, "Easy Peasy," plays like a roller coaster ride with a shimmering synth opener that gradually transitions into a fast-paced duel between math-rock-infused guitars, manic drumming and lead singer, Molly Siegel's unintelligible joyful shouts. "Flabbermouse" on the other hand is subdued in pace, allowing Wong's manipulated ambient guitar effects to fill the few crevices left open by his bandmate's hyper-extended kinetic energy, reminiscent to fellow Mid-Atlantic art rockers, Battles. What stands out the most here on Do Whatever You Want..., however, are the album's most succinct moments of natural unity amongst Ponytail. "Honey Touches," "AwayWay" and "Music Tunes" demonstrate a raw control between Siegel's sporadic vocals as they merge alongside spastic stop-and-go guitars and drumming. It sounds rougher than past Ponytail work, but feels organic rather than carefully plotted and manipulated -- A technique perfected by genre trailblazers, Boredoms, and a fete many have not come close to replicating. Do Whatever You Want All the Time may not be the the most accessible listen to the discriminating ear, but taken in as a whole, it's a wonderfully exciting and energetic listen from a band who almost called it quits. Instead, Ponytail have opted to keep the party going by presenting the noise rock scene evidence of a middle ground that balances chaos and clarity.


Ponytail's Do Whatever You Want All the Time will be released April 12, 2011 on WE ARE FREE Records.

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