Stone-washed sagging jeans, mottled blonde rats’ mane and a sense of weary creativity all deep-fried in a thick wash of distorted brilliance – yes, it’s 2007 and slack is most definitely back. Wheel out those P45s, now’s the time to be single, bleak and completely extraneous to society. You see, the world’s art-rockers have abandoned the comb, swapped their waistcoats for windcheaters and flogged their Corby trouser press for dope money.
Spearheading this lethargic charge are Chicago’s finest, The Ponys. Don’t be fooled though, ‘Turn The Lights Out’ may be stoned, but it’s nowhere near lazy. It’s a pounding alt-rock dynamo with its head sunk in Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr rarities. ‘Everyday Weapon’ pulsates with Pixies-esque bravado and ‘Small Talk’ surfs an enormous wave of tuneful fuzz. But alongside these blissfully heavy-handed grooves lies a surprising sense of fun.
“Well I’m tired, so uninspired”, drones Jered Gummere on the title track, before disproving himself by leading the song into a jolly bounce-chant as playful as an hour in a ball pond with Wayne Coyne. ‘Shine’ and ‘Kingdom Of Hearts’ are half-paced, yearning beasts, like Stephen Malkmus and Howling Bells hollering on a windswept hill.
There are perhaps moments when The Ponys’ influences wrestle the reins from the band themselves (‘Poser Psychotic’ couldn’t be more like ‘Dirty Boots’ by Sonic Youth if it was a pair of stinking Converse underneath Thurston Moore’s stairs) but who cares when it sounds this good? Slack may be back, but this isn’t a band to get apathetic about.