“In the low light of the hut the old man sat quietly puffing on his mapacho. “You must disengage from your… continuity,” he said, referring I’m sure to my earbuds, which, with apologies, I cranked. As I tapped the last drop out of the clay cup and laid back on the ragged foam mat I saw that the old man’s face was no longer his, but a hawk’s. The spirit-world comes on like that.
The music I came to see with my third eye, Ponderosa’s Pool Party, started with a voice, a silver high- lonesome in a mist (or maybe the mist was the voice), an electric guitar that identified itself (verbally, and I’m translating here) as He-who-makes-things-sprout, then a convergence at something analogous to a rain dance, as if conducted (in lapis lazuli) by Keith Moon. Pianos and guitars and harmonies breathed into existence tetrahedrons, Spanish friars, bird-lions, machine elves, Quetzacotl, so forth, and landscapes, always the sweeping, rolling variety. No point going on about what the music looks like. To paraphrase the giant, blazing eye that cries honey, you must see for yourself.
Hearing Ponderosa’s previous album for the first time was a no less illuminating experience if a very different one, involving a trampoline, two bottles of rye, and a sack of possum. Another facet of Ponderosa, another method to ascertain its nature. That album, Moonlight R evival, belongs in the Southern rock canon as much as anything by the Crowes or Little Feat, but more crucial is that with it Ponderosa delivered the first successful fusion of straight Southern rock and Revolver-era Beatles, utterly seamless and genetically sound, not a Frankenstein. This is the musical equivalent of mapping the genome, drunk, using only a monocle. Impossible, yet Ponderosa demonstrated that “a thing that cannot be done can be accomplished by not-doing it.” And because that sounded more conclusively relevant when it was told to me by a stag with no mouth, let’s add that Ponderosa’s clear m.o. is following its bliss.
Which is how Pool Party came to be, as Kalen Nash says without hesitation, “mainstream pop.” Not the logical follow-up album, it’s the organic one. The sound is still easily classifiable: rock:: lush, steady, propellent; the ten songs on Pool Party are no less distinguished and hooky than the shit-kickers and whiskey ballads on Moonlight R evival. Pool Party gives the impression of a completed sonic thought, and there is in fact a narrative in there, a dream-fable, more appropriately. If none of that suggests a tone, think magic hour in the Smokies, or the low Sonoran, or in the hills outside Tenochtitlan, where the feathered jaguar with the tusks hangs out.”
Edited by jromomm on 2 Apr 2013, 19:16
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