Pony Up channels Glasgow

Pony Up hails from Montreal, but thanks to vocalists Sarah Moundroukas and Sarah Wills, the four-piece has more in common with Glaswegian twee pop than the windswept theatrics its city is usually known for. Moundroukas and Wills are not born singers, but their thin, occasionally strained voices are a large part of what makes the band so charming. The lyrics on Stay Gold, the group’s second full-length, are often angry and embittered, but the singers’ innocent delivery makes them seem poignant. The twisted sense of romance displayed on “Making More Beneath” is vintage Belle & Sebastian, especially its unsettling request to “Marry me for fun / And lock me up.” Meanwhile, “Sounds Like My Wedding Night” is near-identical to Camera Obscura, with deadpan vocals and punny lyrics: “You’ve got her nose / Everyone knows I’m her child.”

For most of Stay Gold, Pony Up, favours countrified acoustic strummers and breezy, jangling pop rock. Occasionally, however, they venture into more hard hitting terrain, as on the galloping rocker “Charles.” The driving rhythm is set against tinny synth leads and the usual girlish vocals, making it the catchiest song on the album. (Interestingly, the synth lines sound a heck of a lot like the ending of “Grounds for Divorce” by Wolf Parade, so perhaps there is a touch of Montreal to the band after all.)

mp3: “Charles”

Stay Gold doesn’t have a knockout single, but there’s not a dud in the bunch. The band chose to self release the album, which is a little surprising—after all, plenty of labels would doubtless be attracted to the the clever songwriting and effortless charm. If you want to pick it up, you’ll have to head over to the group’s website.
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