Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Reviews:: New Young Pony Club Fantastic Playroom

Today is Mercury award week on herohill. Later today we have a sit down with Fionn Regan to talk about his award nominated record, The End of History. So, to whet your whistles here's a review of the New Young Pony Club's breakout LP, Fantastic Playroom. I'm not sure if we are still allowed to talk about Post Punk (it's like Fight Club) without spinning off into numerous other sub genres, but I'm going to risk it.

The nice thing is I don't actually listen to much of this style of music, so I don't have to really jump into the derivative/aping argument and can let the songs pass by without much genre specific backlash. I don't care how many bands are doing it or who they are ripping off, so I was able to let the LP play through. The 80's are everywhere, and even though I'm old enough to look back on the decade in a more "WTF" are people into this for, as opposed to embracing blazers, thin ties and bad hair, I was (initially) happy that some of the music is being revisited.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that so many bands are dipping into the same well. It's harder to stand out these days, because everyone is citing Bowie and Depeche Mode as influences. Everyone is jumping into New Order and still seasoning their compositions with Gang of Four riffs. So instead of being a nostalgic journey, it's become the ipso facto. As a result, sounds blend, albums start to drag. I've always said I'm an album guy. I'm not looking for a dance floor banger so when things get stagnant I tend to shut off.

The band does a good job of getting your attention with the nice percussion and choppy guitars of Get Lucky. It's the type of song that people would dance to… every single night (well, every single night where Pabst was on special and ridiculous pants and glasses got you in with no cover). They really get you moving, but the pace and tempo change quickly into a jungle (not the genre, the actual jungle) driven beat. I actually felt like Patrick Dempsey in Can't Buy Me Love and thought I was listening to the African Anteater Dance instead of Don Cornelius. Incidentally, I also wished I had a big high school dance to go to bust out some moves and hook up with the prom queen.

The record starts clicking more on Ice Cream and The Bomb. These are the singles that really started getting NYPC attention and it's easy to see why. Ice Cream is infectious. You can't really ignore the breathy sighs, the guitar pulses and the electro beat. It's the first track that really showcases the reason NYPC is making (new) waves: Tahita Bulmer. Her voice - equal parts sensuality and piss/vinegar - certainly makes you take notice. Sadly, at times she's uttering nonsense like "dip your dipper" or "sucker punch me with your love", but it really matters little as she when says things like "sick like Sid and Nancy" and it syncs up with the bended synth lines, the track takes off.

Despite the band's efforts to try to bulk up the songs with meaningful lyrics, the genre they exist in makes lyrics like "sweat drips from my balls" and "let's make love to Death From Above" Pulitzer prize worthy. I'd like to focus more on their efforts, but if the band gets your ass shaking, making you think falls a distant second to making you drink. The Bomb uses epic synths and soaring melodies to build up the energy and you can see the potential of the band coming to life.

The thing is, like 80's nights, this kind of music is mostly just a novelty for me: sure it was enjoyable in parts, frustrating in others but I can totally see why they are where they are. Will it be something I reach for time and time again? Of course not, but sometimes the cacophony of industrial sounds is just what you need. Other times it's too muddled and repetitive or uninspired. I know being aloof is a major qualification for most of the coolest kids, but in a synth band that energy is a requirement and at times I get the feel the band is going through the robotronic motions.

Did this help you at all? Probably not, so how about these????

MP3:: Get Lucky

Posted at 11:46 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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