Pony Face @ Northcote Social Club
You get the feeling that when Simon Bailey, Kris Emond and Anth Dymke come together to write music, minutes would quickly turn into hours that would soon turn into days and possibly weeks. Within their rich tapestry of sounds, there’s a permeation of ideas that slowly unravel to release an energy which helps develop an overwhelming contortion of the senses.
Tonight’s launch of Hypnotised is the first of nine East Coast shows that celebrate their second full-length release. It’s an aptly named title; the hypnotic effect of their sound is certainly spell binding.
Key opener Howdy Moon uses Emond’s steady toms-laden percussion with the eerie, slow burn of Bailey’s guitar and ringing synths. It’s a slow motion attack on the room that soon breaks open into cymbals, fuzz and sparks.
A red hot Alabama builds pace. "Stuck down the bottom of an abandoned mine/Where the walls are cold and the sun doesn’t shine" is mumbled threw somewhat gritted teeth; the deep drawl that signifies Bailey’s laconic vocal prowess. It’s an earthy and austere manner in which he delivers the echoing chorus that has energised community radio wires for months now – the audience is sold. Matty Vehl guests, to bring in exploding keys as the guitar rings out like a train careering through a tunnel.
A three-piece by nature, Pony Face have tonight enlisted some friends for additional effect (vocal assistance by Jaye Kranz and Mila Shaw and the aforementioned Vehl). Yet the trio are incredibly capable of creating a big sound on their own with the use of programmed loops that at times allow Emond to put down the sticks and pick up the guitar. It swirls tremendously in tracks like Warning Bell and Hypnotised where notes climb up and down the fretboard.
The stage is lit like a whore house for Stripper. The bass is constant and cathartic, all other elements projecting a cinematic feel too. Silver Tongue is truly infectious with its scratchy digital intro and rich groove throughout. The band look at home here; excitement and enthusiasm painted on their faces. Perhaps feeling the reward for all their efforts.
Dymke, who appears like a mix of Abba’s Benny Andersson and a young Obi Wan, demonstrates his churning bass on Disco Cops. It’s punchy percussion has Emond popping and dropping more tom action and crashing cymbals.
Stars Are Bright, Sheelong, Devil, Bermuda and Nebraska are all reminders of how strong Pony Face has been for over six years now and there’s no doubt that, matched by the release of Hypnotised and performances such as tonight, the love for these tight knit locals will continue to spread.
BY JOHN DONALDSON
LOVED: The laid back grooves of Holly Said.
HATED: The incessant chatting in the crowd.
DRANK: Me, lager. Finchy, lager. Gareth, lager sometimes cider.