It's the most basic line-up in Rock: guitar, bass and drums. While this is a tight, efficient unit, most everything tends to sound the same. It can get real boring, real quick. Most trios end up double tracking guitars, percussion and other instruments to fill out the sound. And that's fine for the studio but nearly impossible to replicate on stage. That was the dilemma facing the Ponys.
The Chicago based band came together in late '00 when guitarist/singer Jered Gummere convinced girlfriend/bassist Melissa Elias to start a group.
Drummer Nathan Jerde was recruited and in short the group had taken up residency at the Beat Kitchen. A couple of recording sessions convinced Gummere that the band needed something. That something was keyboardist Ian Adams.
This line-up released the exceptional "Laced With Romance" in '03. But Adams found the Rock n' Roll life not to his liking so he bailed and was replaced by Brian Case. "Celebration Castle" hit in '05.
2004 Laced With Romance
2005 Celebration Castle
2007 Turn The Lights Out
There is something potent about a chord slamming band. That's what makes "Laced With Romance" such an entertaining CD. It's simple. Lay it down and walk away.
Nearly every song begins with an ear catching guitar riff or chord progression. "Trouble, Trouble" could pass as a Romantics track from their heyday. "Looking Out A Mirror" starts with a tight riff that's buried by psychedelic keyboards. Campy and spooky. On "Virus Human" the guitar jumps from speaker to speaker before Gummere jumps in with expressively sloppy vocals.
There's also quirky sense of humor at play here. It's evident in song titles "10 Fingers And 11 Toes" and "I Only Love You Because You Look Like Me."
"Celebration Castle" is nearly as good. "Another World" returns to the '80s. "Glass Conversation," "Today," and "We Shot The World" are slam bam Rockers. "She's Broken" with Elias' vocal is another brilliant track. "Get Black" is also good though it digs a bit of a ditch with the cliche line "I can feel the heat come off the street."