According to Wikipedia, Baltimore Art-rockers Ponytail have been inactive for almost four years. I knew it had been a while since the criminally underrated Do Whatever You Want All the Time , which is, of course, every Libertarian’s favorite album title ever, but I didn’t think it had been a full Olympics cycle.
I’m saddened to learn Ponytail doesn’t seem to be making new music, because their bizarre blend of math rock, burbling noises and surf grooves was entirely singular. Plus, for some reason (I’d guess an almost total lack of comprehensible lyrics) Ponytail never became particularly popular, and that’s a shame.
I think one of the best examples of the band’s appeal is “Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came from an Angel)” off of 2008’s Ice Cream Spiritual.
It has all the hallmarks of a Ponytail song, but has some moments that make it slightly more accessible than the usual fare.
Of course, this is thoroughly a Ponytail track, so there is a near cacophony of angular guitar noises, but eventually things settle into a tuneful, surf-rock groove. Triumphant, swelling group vocals and chanting of actual, identifiable words (Away we go now) join the mix. The almost conventional chanting and, “Oh’s,” give way to spastic gibbering, but occasionally walls of vocal noise or guitar blasts cede to focused tunes, and by the end of the seven-minute track, things are wonderfully in focus, as a two-minute guitar spectacle wraps up among a reprise of the group vocals.
“Celebrate the Body ….” lasts for seven minutes, and it essentially consists of three parts. Each part builds in intensity before finding an exhilarating rhythm, which in turn self-immolates and sets the stage for the next mellow portion of the song, which then begins to build. If atmospheric, energetic guitar jams are your thing, the tuneful stretches are mesmerizing. Stray strands from the oddball tapestry of sounds are woven into some great melodies.
If you’re interested in experimental rock, but think prog rock is for wusses, check this out.