Little known The Pony Collaboration release their second album this November and at the moment, I feel like it’s a little gem that only I know about and I don’t want to share. It’s fantastic; a cosy security blanket of melancholic and understated pop that has a charm all of its own.
With the emotive depth of Tindersticks, the poppy sentiment of Camera Obscura and the modesty of Pavement, ‘If These Are The Good Times’ comprises of ten warming folk tunes that are instantly accessible without the need for try-hard hooks and repetitive choruses. In fact like all great artists, The Pony Collaboration sound effortless in their delivery, as if their music was the result of a fortuitous jam during one long and lethargic afternoon.
A hefty eight members make up this band but you wouldn’t know it; the music is delicate and unbloated, every instrument perfectly applied to tug at your emotions. As inconspicuous as this album might seem, it’s a heavyweight when it comes to connecting with the listener. Take opener ‘Until It’s Gone’; the idiosyncratic male-female vocals set the tone for the album, yearning as they sing whilst violins soar along in the choruses. Title track ‘If These Are The Good Times’ is full of regret and an impassioned plea to a loved is one carried through the song by a swell of strings, piano and guitar.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the upbeat ‘I Never Knew’ testifies and ‘Monopoly On Sound’ showcases the bands ability to craft perfect instrumentals. But whatever the feel, every song is bound together by a quiet bitter-sweet sentiment that runs through the recording.
It’s not often that quiet bands like this are able to evoke such strong feeling, but The Pony Collaboration do just this. The whole record is an introspective journey that is a sad as it is uplifting. It was once said that John Peel’s success was down to the fact that it sounded like he was talking to you alone, rather than an army of listeners and perhaps the same could be said for this very personal album. Let’s just hope the well deserved success comes with it.