Ponyloaf – Epic Travels

Epic Travels

Nigh on 10 years ago, I stood in a rumpus room and screamed “Surfies Suck!” for eight minutes whilst my friends battered the shit out of their instruments. One of those trying to cause grievous instrumental harm was Damien ‘Lion’ Lewis, or Dobba as we knew him back then. I have a feeling we climbed up on a rooftop one night and tried to see whose cheap sparkling booze cork could knock out a street light, but that’s neither here nor were we all-together there. A decade later and Ponyloaf, featuring Lewis, Shane Rudken and Daniel Templemen, has just finished touring Australia’s eastern coast with the Livid Festival, along with the likes of little-known indie rockers Oasis, Morrisey, AYWKUBTTOD, and other up-and-comers. Funny how things work out.
As it is, Ponyloaf are electro-post-rock-retro-futurists (my description, not theirs), and their six-track EP is a space ride through bleeps and blips, vocoded lullabies, and the occasionally ringing vibraphone lovingly looped whilst in the background a bassline beat shuffles along with a squelch of machinery lover. It’s surprisingly warm for electronic music – maybe it’s the playful poses on the cover dotted with astro themes, but there’s a very blissed out ambiance that pervades. Even “Adam,” despite the more distorted beats a la Aphex Twin, retains a melodic track, not necessarily linear and in no ways straight but nevertheless enough to hold onto while you take in the rhythms.
“Fuck Love” is probably the highlight here. Beginning with a warm yet eerie 50s sci-fi bass, it moves through the rises and falls as expected, but every so often there’s a minor note tossed in amongst the keys that suggests something wrong. With its urging undulation, squealing riffs that sound almost Atari like, and bump’n’grind beat, there’s a final minute, a burst of static that flows from left speaker to right and then whoosh, it’s over. Like love.
Brisbane has a habit of producing bands that oppose the norms other Brisbane bands assert. For every Powderfinger there’s a Melniks, for every George there’s a Trinkets. Maybe Ponyloaf are the anti-Savage Garden. Here’s hoping.