The Ponys: Deathbed+4

Matador Records

Four years have passed since the Ponys last checked in, and the Deathbed+4 EP finds the Chicago foursome returning on a beautiful, dreary note. The title track is a slow rock number where morphine rhythms and grumbling distortion recall the Velvet Underground during its most vampiric moods and Joy Division at its most serene. In a word, the record is haunting, and there's a tremendous feeling of devastation in "The Walk" that takes the group to a much darker place than before. If sped up to punk velocity, the song would feel at home on Jay Reatard's Blood Visions. But it's not all doom and gloom. The distorted drone of "Is It Working" fires up with a familiar slur and immediacy that's instantly pleasing to the ears, while a revisit of their "Pop Culture" single smacks of everything that made the Ponys so compelling in the first place, offering just a taste of what's to come. 4 out of 5 stars.