Announcing their hiatus in mid-2010, Baltimore quartet Ponytail elicited unexpected reconsiderations of the phrase “You’ll miss me when I’m gone.” The band’s kaleidoscopically skewed take on art-rock may directly appeal to those who continue to believe Deerhoof fell off sometime after 2005’s The Runners Four (a memo we apparently didn’t get; I mean, you’ve heard Deerhoof vs. Evil, right?), but in the run up to their return album, Do Whatever You Want All the Time, Ponytail’s stock across various indie demographics has never been higher. So if a little time off pursuing various side projects and solo endeavors is all it takes for Ponytail to come back rejuvenated, then our time romanticizing their brief initial run will not have been in vain.
Churning their way through a bubbling synth intro, Do Whatever opener “Easy Peasy” finds Ponytail deploying shards of their sound in carefully allotted, escalating patterns. As such, it should do little to quell anticipation, but before long the band’s tumbling forth with their trademark guitar curlicues and elastic percussive displays. Instruments playfully careen off one another, each vying for the listener’s attention in anticipation of singer Molly Seigel, whose vocal acrobatics more often than not divert ears with her mix of wide-eyed euphoria and gut-level intensity. After teasing her entrance for a couple minutes, she finally arrives, staying pretty well within the pocket as she rides the track’s cresting guitar loops and cartoon-ish synth riff. For their part, the band level out their familiar dynamic range for the track’s first half before guitarist Dustin Wong drops a searing solo and drummer Jeremy Hymen hits the accelerator for the duration, climaxing in unison with Seigel.
It all tumbles to a close just as it seems the band is reaching for fifth gear, leaving me particularly interested in how they plan on building on this song’s rallying momentum across the LP. With curious eyes fixed on their next move, Ponytail not only have the networks now available for maximum indie exposure at their disposal, but also the retina-damaging cover art courtesy of kindred spirit Yamantaka Eye and a satisfying comeback track under their belt, setting up a potential breakthrough for a band that could just as easily remain a cult item. The ball is in their court, but something also tells me people won’t be sleeping on Ponytail this time around. [CMG]