The Pony Collaboration

Everything Was Ages Ago

(North Bend Records)

Here we have a new album from this collective. The cover artwork evokes a Fifties era, days gone echoed by the LP title. The group comprises Tom Barden on drums, keys lady Ellie Chalmers, guitar and melodica man Michael Chalmers, bassist John Norbury-Lyons, percussionist Marc Rothera and guitarist and singer James Scallan. He seems to be prime composer, thereafter abetted by group members.

Starting cut Spare Me The Detail – very Morrissey titles throughout! – has what sounds like the nephew of Jarvis Cocker singing over the pattering drums and feathery backing vocals of a shoegazer outfit. The guitar shimmer and tuneful bass give way to a toybox percussion packaging then the song returns. The melody is rather haunting.

Steven has a much more strident female lead vocal over clipped guitar, stops and all and that post-Velvets steady drumming. The harmonies are charming. The lyrical theme seems to misdirected infatuation. A well-judged guitar run is in total keeping with the song arrangement. A reference to Nintendo and a scoop of early Blondie give this a retro appeal. The Only Song I Ever Wrote For You has the Pulp junior voice back upfront over light acoustic guitar with indie band backing seeping in. Surely C86 was long before this was born. It’s tuneful but ruggedly fey, if such a thing is possible. There again, they’re not trying to be Mastodon. Galloping bass stars off No Difference, Ellie taking the lead over light key motifs and that drummer keeping it tight. Gutsy guitar probes the tempo as it settles back into a gallop.

The Novelty Wore Off finds the ensemble going for a snappy rhythm but still sounding like a hybrid of Pulp and Prefab Sprout. The fuzz&delay guitar run sounds lyrical and flowing. A sigh of a song. Title cut Everything Was Ages Ago has an easy-going tempo and Scallan dueting with Ellie on a catchy tune. The bits of pedal steel work quite well, the melodica a tad wimpy. Next up we have Sorry, delivered in a breathy tone worthy of a mid-period Peel Session by Crispy Ambulance or some such combo. Brisker by far is Sooner Or Later with its melancholy vibe and superior vocal, a lively backdrop with a hint of almost funk guitar and one of the better inclusions. Continuity Errors is all rickety cyclic guitar motifs and that hesitant vocal at odds with the defined playing behind it.

Citizen Kane is slow as it gets and with this singing, mournful. Leonard Cohen Lite is the vibe here, though the backing is tender and well-judged. Closing song When I’m Lost gets close to The Beautiful South in delivery and melody.

Far too hesitant and lightweight for me, but as a post-Pulp indie outing of small-town story songs by players who work extremely well together for the material, this might well be your stop. Simply because the group attains what it attempts and no critique should ever overlook this element.

Pete Sargeant



(Thanks Holly)

The Pony Collaboration's new studio album 'Everything Was Ages Ago' is out now on North Bend Records.

To purchase the album for more information visit the band's official website here:

Pony Collaboration