Antique Pony – Unalbum

This is the album of the year: there, I’ve said it.

Completely unique and utterly, strangely, bewitchingly triumphant…probably.

I say probably as proceedings are so anarchic at times that, whilst I remain convinced it is indeed album of the year, the odd moment of aural confusion suggests it may actually be the worst effort so far; still, makes an impact and it’s hard to argue with that.

20 seconds into this offering you’d be forgiven for musing that Antique Pony bear more than a passing resemblance to the recently revived Pop Group – and parts of the whole do indeed indulge the jitter and staccato brilliance of that band – but when it becomes apparent that each track often seems to contain about three different songs going on at once, and somehow makes sense of that unlikely proposition, you realise you’re in the company of something quite singular indeed.

Captain Beefheart is listed as an influence, but to suggest these three reprobates are mere lout-masked replicants is to sell them way short: they may as well be called Unique Pony because there’s bugger all else out there quite like this; not capable of producing such a cohesive blend from wildly divergent ingredients in this strangest of strange brews.

There’s vocoders, discordant melodies, funk, surf guitar, jarring and angular riffs… and yet it all flows… flows like the fetid sludge of the River Clyde past Erskine where the curtly named Graham, Derek, Daniel and Steven hail from.

Parts of it, eg the chanted ‘Silver Dancing From A Spectral Tongue’, sound like some of Prince’s more fucked up moments, but where Antique Pony fit into any Scottish lineage is anyone’s guess.

Some of it is compressed and shooting off in all directions like fireworks gone beautifully wonky; some of it is louche and stretched into velvety grooves with idyllic melody guiding you through; some of it even goes almost conventional guitar pop, for example ‘Snowblood’, but there’s an otherness about even that – perhaps in no small part because the backing vocals sound like the were recorded via a glass tumbler pressed against the wall to the sing song next door.

Taking a look at the Facebook bio for the band reveals a black splodge; this may in fact mean something to the more tech-minded, but for illiterate fools like myself it represents as apt a description as any for the group.

Don’t be deceived into thinking this melange of madness is in any way affected or zany though; it is accurate and precise and there’s a fierce compositional intelligence at work; sometimes songs take a while to resolve themselves, but when they do… oh my.

But then others take the reverse path, seemingly leaving the shonky rhythm, keyboards and voodoo vocals behind and dissolving into the ether and astral beyond; such is the capricious nature of this precious beast.

There really is little else to say other than if you have any interest in stuff that really doesn’t equate to anything else so far, you should listen to this: you may hate it – I may by next week – but you will be enriched for having assaulted, nay seduced, your brain with it.

You need a ‘Rose Gold Passerine, Twelve-Eyed’ (track three) in your house; in all senses of the word this records is marvellous.

On the Vosneometer this scores a Thrilling/10; buy it.

unalbum by Antique Pony

Words: Vosne Malconsorts

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