Release Date: Feb 20, 2012
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
The three Carney brothers, who make up the entirety of Virginia throwback psych-rock act Pontiak, have done their best to keep the world at more than arm's-length during their prolific career. They've released albums that seem crafted to only please themselves, EPs that never really go anywhere (last year's Comecrudos, most egregiously), and have always recorded on their family farm out in the Blue Ridge Mountains, completely sequestered away from society. Some would say that this was all done in the name of preserving artistic integrity, to produce music immune to whatever was going on out there in the big, loud world, but the reality of what it produced was far from idyllic.
Naming subgenres is probably one of the critics’ favorite tasks, and for some forms of music that doesn’t create too much pretense; whether twelve-tone or soul jazz, such descriptors often fit the bill. With rock music (and especially indie rock), things get a little more difficult. It’s hard to imagine any band approving of being called math-rock, post-rock, or slow-core.
After listening to Echo Ono, I wanted to do one thing: go into a garage, plug in my guitar to a good amp, stomp firmly on a distortion pedal, and strum. Pontiak’s fifth studio album is an in-your-face exercise in dirty, stoner-laced rock and roll. From the moment the guitar kicks in on “Lions of Least,” and for the most part things don’t wind down.
Is rock and roll not only dead, but unable to be resurrected, despite the efforts of millions of tight-pants guitar-slingers across America, the UK, and the entire surface of the Earth? Ask the three brothers that make up the Virginia-based band Pontiak and they'll say, Fuck no! Their names are Van, Lain and Jennings. Echo Ono is their seventh release on major-indie label Thrill Jockey, and rest assured, there are no echos on the record or Onos either. Just another masculine, power-driven, ABA form of visceral guitar wipe-outs and ephemeral delay effects, smothered in the scent of the great outdoors and car tires.