Pit Ponies, as the name signifies, identify strongly with an English working class tradition, and they carry this through with their direct, soul tinged music. Magnificent Second Occupation certainly kicks back against working class marginalisation, but it has a definite joy to it too. Released by Trashmouth Records.
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- Magnificent Second Occupation by Pit Ponies
6/10 Robin Staff review, 05 August 2015
Some DIY rock ‘n’ roll from the Fat White Family family here; the Pit Ponies are hammering away drum fills and playing snaky riffs while yelping over each other for a record of what they describe as “Upminister soul” (read: no frills garage). Described by Ian, incorrectly, as “a kinda English version of Guided By Voices”, they have a vocalist who sounds as incredulous as dude from the Jam and some guitar solo-marrying-keys moments that recall Joe Strummer’s ‘Streetcore’.
They calibrate this stuff well, do thee Pony orchestra: the harmonies flail at each other loosely and everything they do feels gleefully off-the-wall, probably due to the sparkly organ setting they have on their synthies. A few Undertones-inspired riffs and some gulping, Bowie-esque vocal lines get them home and dry for the festival crowds. It’s weird listening to them flick a switch between lyrics as dire as “I don’t wanna be on my own again / I need to feel at home again” and pretty as “please take me back to the water of your geranium lake”, but it proves there’s a strand of the inventive in them -- they just like to fall back on a decent cliche.
Speaking of cliches: I could do with less of the filibuster solos, which tend to stretch way too far into any song they’re played on. There’s a strand of rock ‘n’ roll showmanship to this record that can mar proceedings, whereas their straight-up garage rock points to the hooks and lets them lie. Either way, 'Magnificent Second Occupation' is a good record that could do with a little quality control.
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