Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Extra Medium Pony. 11868.

Extra Medium Pony.  11868.
Self-Produced, 2012.   Extra Medium Pony:  http://www.extramediumpony.com/  

This indie-pop band from Cleveland released this a while back, but since they haven’t released anything new (they are now with Exit Stencil Records, which has re-released it), it was handed to me to review.  The title seems to be an address, the string of five numbers so common in this area make it obvious, and a Google search places it in Lakewood.  Whether this is the address of one of the musicians or the object of the songs (the girl with whom Mr. Spitalsky broke up) is a private matter that need not concern us.  The 18 short songs on the album provide an interesting paradox of largely uptempo, rather happy sounding tunes about heartbreak.  It is almost as if the writer were enjoying the catharsis of writing and singing about his troubles.

The listening is pleasant.  I enjoyed most of the songs, although they are somewhat insubstantial from a musical perspective.  Consisting of simple, limited chord progressions, minimal instrumentation, and relatively unpolished production, one can move through the album without effort.  However, the guitar playing is quite good, and the gentlemen on bass and drums form a good rhythm section.  Mr. Spitalsky is suitable as a singer for the style (he moves out of key and misses notes, but for this music such actions are reasonable), and clearly emotes the lyrics in appropriate fashion.  The lyrics are the deepest part of the music here, and display the range of emotion the writer faced.  A few mid-tempo songs and several ballads, such as “Junk Yard” are placed in the mix to provide variety, and this proves successful.

Extra Medium Pony is a band with considerable musical potential.  Some of the songs are really quite good.  Many suffer from simply being too short (only six are over two minutes), and require greater development in order to take them to the next level.  This is their second release (their first was an EP), and so there is plenty of time and room to grow in any direction they choose.  They will be playing at the Happy Dog in Cleveland come February.

Personnel:  Richard Spitalsky (vocals, guitar), Jimmy Frysinger (drums), Ben Gmetro (bass).
Tracks:  Sea Glass, You and Me, Ewe, It Don’t Feel Right, Livin’ Alone, Settle Down, Sunflower, Lost, Cat and Split, You Sleep?, Junk Yard, I’m so Bored, Inside Out, Room to Grow, Lucky, Falling Apart, Waiting a Long Time, Crooked Fingers.

Gottfried Klaas

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