The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, January 20, 2012, Music

The Pons

The Blackest Shine

The Pons' sophomore LP strikes as a gallant effort to try to hold things together, channeling self-destructive impulses into something creative and constructive. The black-eyed portraits quilting the back cover signal as much, a collage evoking both amusement and horror in its causal ambiguity. Yet the local trio can't quite pull off those competing impulses over the entirety of The Blackest Shine, even as the often dire sentiments are couched in polished, upbeat pop. The ominous swirl and driving percussion of the title track races against desperation, while "Someone Else's Voice" pumps hard-clipped rhythms against Thomas Mazzi's embittered internal dialogue. At its best, as with the first half of "Can't Get Through," the Pons present a perfect pop build that might recall Freedy Johnston, but often the tunes are too wound in complex patterns and turns to allow them to take hold, even in calmer moments such as "Sleep Soundly" or elongated closer "Black Twin."


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