Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
For their 10th studio album, Virginia proto-metal shredders Pontiak don’t ditch their overarching hard-rock patina. They barely side-step it all, in fact, on a majority of the collection of spacey psych tunes on Innocence. The areas where they do get comfortable, however, are such leaps of liberty from their wild 2012 collection Echo Ono that tricking yourself into believing a major evolution might be pretty easy.
Pontiak, folks. Opener "Innocence" rules, in precisely their nonchalant manner. It opens in mono, or close enough—a classic record-bin, vibrato-and-decibels power riff, exploding out into a stereo soundstage after four bars and bursting with guitars you know were recorded LOUD, because c'mon, just listen. "Lack Lustre Rush," all Stooges groove and swagger, follows up with an eminently singable chorus couplet of "Hey/Wait a Minute." You gotta raise a toast.
With a band as relentlessly prolific as Pontiak, fans might worry that the group is potentially sacrificing their best editing instincts in favor of churning out one record after another while never bothering to look back. Those concerns are boisterously dismissed on Innocence, the Virginia band-of-brothers’ tenth release in a productive decade of work. The record bristles with a brash creative confidence and raucous riffs galore, as Van, Jennings, and Lain Carney have crafted a neo-psych garage rock sound that rumbles out of the Blue Ridge Mountains and will surely shake everything in its wake.
Born and raised out of the rural Blue Ridge Mountains, Pontiak is an East Coast three-piece out of Virginia, USA. Formed by brothers Jennings, Van, and Lain Carney, Pontiak plays all-thrills/no-frills alternative rock reminiscent of Pavement and a bit of the brashness of Fugazi with psychedelic and garage rock tendencies on Innocence, their eighth full-length since 2004. Pontiak’s southern American rock upbringing is instantly recognizable in the jump-around, slightly sludgy title track and the anthemic Shining, which recall Queens Of The Stone Age and early ’90s Stephen Malkmus releases in their unfettered fuzz.
After more than a decade of exploring different offshoots of '60s psych, acid rock, and sludgy proto-metal-inspired sound, Pontiak arrived at their eighth full-length album, Innocence. Made up of a nice mesh of fine-tuned performances and adventurous production choices, the album follows an evolution of exploratory sounds to territory both heavy and languidly dreamy. The menacing howls that open "Lack Lustre Rush" echo Iggy's savage animal cries on the Stooges' rawest Fun House moments, and quickly blur that album's sultry rock swagger with a more churning acid-metal groove.
Innocence, the new album by Virginia power trio Pontiak, stands as a reminder that no matter what new sonic territory pop music delves into, a good old-fashioned guitar riff can still kick all kinds of ass. There are monster riffs galore on Innocence, the 10th studio release from brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney. These farm boy rock enthusiasts are experts at breathing raucous new life into well worn formulas.
“Wasted… In tha streeeeeeeet…” Nothing aids a queasy drug reference like a dizzy fuzz-tone. For INNOCENCE, the tenth release from the trio of Virginian brothers that make up Pontiak, the amps are properly dialed and the riffs are appropriately blues-borne. Less an indication of where we are than where we’ve been, INNOCENCE brims with the familiar garage rock gushing and solid low-end chunk of post-Woodstock flower pummeling bands like Blue Öyster Cult and the MC5, concerned more with weight than speed.
Blue Ridge brothers Pontiak made it through 2013 without a new record, a first for the band since their 2005 debut. The year off not only gave overtaxed fans a chance to replenish their bank accounts, it allowed the hard-working Carney boys a little time to consider their next move. Though by no means a "comeback" record, their latest, Innocence, does have a whiff of rejuvenation about it.
If ever you needed an album to blow out the cobwebs then this is it. And if the self-consciously capitalised album title Innocence looks like its shouting, it certainly sounds like it too. The eponymous opener starts off with a Beaufort scale tipping squall of feedback, then lurches uncontrollably into Bleach era Nirvana, somewhere in the recess between 'School' and 'Negative Creep'.
Pontiak — Innocence (Thrill Jockey)Pontiak’s fantastic backstory reads like it just has to be apocryphal, like it has to be the construct of a marketing team. Van, Lain and Jennings Carney are a bearded, vintage amp-loving, riff-worshipping psych-sludge band of brothers who grew up and live on farms? And they built their own all-analog studio in the backwoods of Virginia? And their record collection purportedly doesn’t have a record made past 1977, but does have the complete Grand Funk Railroad and Blue Cheer discographies? Like Kings of Leon from some darker timeline? Yeah. Sure.