Pony – TV Baby (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Pony – TV Baby (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 29:34 minutes | 360 MB | Genre: Indie Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Take This To Heart

TV Baby, the debut LP from Toronto power-pop act PONY, feels like it’s programmed from a different era. Driven by vocalist/guitarist Sam Bielanski’s sharp vocal tones and flashy, driving rhythm, the band combines cheeky 1980s style with 1990s self-reliance and modern production sheen for an experience caught between worlds. It’s hooky and vibrant, but don’t mistake exuberance for extroversion. TV Baby is an album dedicated to the indoor cats, the introverts, and those who value their independence above anything else.

Bielanski, along with close friends Matty Morand (Pretty Matty) and Lucas Horne, have taken a piecemeal approach to worldbuilding here. They’ll take you to the band computer, where Sam’s frantically typing symptoms into a search bar into “WebMD,” where body horror meets sugar-rushed guitars. Next comes a thorny survey of the “Furniture,” fuzzy and scuff-marked, before letting you crash on the “Couch,” a pop-punk ode to discovering new parts of yourself while the world rolls past. When others are present in this internal monologue, like those hurt and driven to “Cry,” they’re greeted with the same maximalist pop-rock. In PONY’s gig economy, riffs beat out the rearview mirror. Saddle up alongside them and your joyride is guaranteed.

PONY spent the first half-decade of their career dishing out a succession of pleasantly crunchy singles and EPs that blended the snarkier side of ’90s grunge and alt-rock with the energy of pop-punk. Led by Toronto-based singer/guitarist Sam Bielanski, the project has cycled through its share of members in the years leading up to this full-length debut, but exists here as a hearty power trio thanks to ace rhythm battery Matty Morand and Lucas Horne. Most of the band’s previous material came out on Canadian indie Buzz Records, but with TV Baby, they’ve expanded their reach by signing with Massachusetts label Take This to Heart. Bubblegum melodies abound across the album’s ten tracks, which are played with a mix of grunge heft and pop punch. Bielanski’s vocals are well-suited to the material, ranging easily between moments of innocence and sass, yet relying far more heavily on the latter. While a handful of cuts like “Chokecherry” and “By the Way” have legs, so much of PONY’s sound relies on their obsession with ’90s alt-rock that they’ve buried their own personalities in the process. The glimmering vibes of “My Room” make for a pleasing listen, but as with much of the record, there’s not a lot here that sticks around. Although they clearly have plenty of musical ability, at face value PONY sound like the house band at the Bronze on a Buffy revival. – Timothy Monger

1-01. Pony – Chokecherry (02:45)
1-02. Pony – WebMD (02:17)
1-03. Pony – By the Way (03:01)
1-04. Pony – Furniture (02:32)
1-05. Pony – Couch (02:31)
1-06. Pony – My Room (02:19)
1-07. Pony – Sometime Later (03:27)
1-08. Pony – Cry (03:15)
1-09. Pony – Sunny D (03:48)
1-10. Pony – Swore (03:34)




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