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- Innocence by Pontiak
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Finally, I have reached the conclusion of today's gruelly review-a-thon, and it's a bit of a treat. Virginia's Pontiak are three brothers with a love for heavily distorted guitar. They've been doing this for a while and they know what they're doing. Here they've got 11 new tracks of their trademark axe sludge with heavy TAD-esque riffs and crunchy glowing-amp distortion masking a succession of triumphantly melodic songs.
It's anthemic stuff, basically, big heavy psych-rawk with a touch of Uncle Acid to it, but it never comes across as cheesy thanks to those gritty, oil-stained guitar tones, gleefully overblown and harsh, churning and chugging alongside the precise vocal harmonies. They do take it down a notch on occasion too. 'It's The Greatest' for example is a plodding organ-led ballad with slow doomy guitar chords and bright spluttery guitar picking and 'Noble Heads' dispenses of the distortion altogether for the bulk of its sub-three-minute duration for a full-throated acoustic singalong. Generally, though, what you'll be getting from this album is a selection of finely crafted pop songs set adrift in a stormy sea of blown-amp distortion, just like these brothers do best. Very good.
9/10 Sander van den Driesche Customer review, 14th February 2014
Who hasn’t heard of Pontiak? The Virginia based band consisting of the three Carney brothers, Jennings on bass, Van on guitar and lead vocals and Lain on drums? If you haven’t you have some catching up to do as they have put out at least one release each year since 2005, and their latest album INNOCENCE will be number 10, their 8th release for Thrill Jockey. What they have created here is probably some of their heavier stuff, especially when compared to Echo Ono, which has a more psychedelic indie rock sound compared to this newest offering. From the opening 2 tracks ‘Innocence’ and ‘Lack Lustre Rush’ it is clear that the band has dived deep into the heavy fuzz effects, creating a heavier, dirtier and more stoner rock sound. In fact, everything sounds a lot heavier and a lot warmer. The bass is a lot more present, the guitars are more distorted and fuzzier, and they sound very warm especially during the solo in ‘Noble Heads’, and the drums sound slightly better produced, creating a more in your face effect. But don’t get me wrong, as it is still indisputable Pontiak we’re dealing with here. There is a lot of psychedelica going on here, and at times you get warped back to the 70’s heavy rock scene. Other songs have that Pontiak classic psychedelic folk sound, like‘Wildfires’, that has a huge Neil Young, or even Scottish singer songwriter Withered Hand stamp on it. Or close your eyes while you listen to the dirty near doom rock sounding fuzz riff of ‘Surrounded by Diamonds’ and you’ll easily mistake it for a Black Sabbath song. But then again it is not as it is clearly Pontiak. It is just that typical melting pot of various psychedelic rock influences Pontiak is known for that they’ve pulled out of the hat again. It's almost like a heavier and fuzzier modern Pink Floyd we're listening to here. INNOCENCE shows a Pontiak on the top of their gaame with a heavier, more melodic, and more engaging album that easily sits on top of my list as an early favourite for 2014.
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