The Ponys

Record review

Phases & Stages

The Ponys

Laced With Romance (In the Red)

Opening to the sound of galloping hooves, Laced With Romance vaults out of the gate on a Ponys metaphor, which is then passed swiftly on the rail by Cure comparisons (a 25-year-old with legs). Clanging guitar flanges into bass drum and bass as a thick, syrupy, Robert Smith type gargles "Let's Kill Ourselves." Ringing rejoinder, "Ten Fingers 11 Toes" is more explicit: "Susie's in black, but that's how she always dresses; I'm tall and skinny and some people say I look pretty weird. " The way Jered sings "11 Toes" makes your heart ache for Joey Ramone. Which is appropriate, because this romance couldn't be more rudimentary – or effective. The uptempo needles and pins of "Sad Eyes" stabs at Interpol, while "Trouble Trouble" jabs early British Invasion. Some bands jangle, this Chicago quartet rings – and rings and rings and rings. The monotone goes opaque long enough for a haunted keyboard solo on "Little Friends" ("They keep peeing all over my floor. ... All they want is to eat some more"). Melissa gets vocal on "Fall Inn," with its "And Then She Kissed Me" intro, reprising the trick on Fifties slick-back "I Love You 'Cause (You Look Like Me)." Steely, bounding, and finally thundering closer, "The Only One" barrels across the finish line with two strangers that meet on a bus and finish "in bed together for the rest of our lives." All black, with traces of red, is 11/2 dimensional 46 minutes later, but these Ponys clang the guitar just like ringing a bell. (The Ponys ride into Emo's Saturday, July 3.)

***

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