Those of you that rely on music to get you through the tough times, rejoice! As it so happens, southern comfort isn’t just for food anymore. The sentiment is alive and well in the music scene, as evidenced by Pool Party, the sophomore offering from Atlanta, Georgia’s Ponderosa. Though the band describes itself as “neo-psychedelic indie rock,” there is a definite sense of simplistic familiarity that pervades throughout the course of the 10-track album.
From the long, melodic howls of lead singer Kalen Nash to the desperately racing guitar riffs, the band’s sound is abound with all the trappings of rustic genres such as alternative country and southern rock. Ponderosa heavily recalls acts such as Band of Horses and even Coldplay, often choosing to employ the formula of subdued introductions that escalate into swelling choruses (as heard in lead single, “Navajo”) and give a frantic, chaotic effect to each track.
The resulting feeling is one of remarkable comfort. After all, starting slow and building up is a comfortable formula that is tried, tested and true when it comes to getting people to listen and feel. There is a definite sense of getting back to basics, of being carefree and forever young in the way the instrumentals are thrown together like paint being splashed on a canvas. Ponderosa is not necessarily doing anything particularly innovative, but one can almost be grateful simply because the album feels like coming home. This feeling is even more evident in tracks such as “Black Hill Smoke” and “Never Come Back” which heavily recall the influence of classic oldies and blue-eyed soul acts like The Righteous Brothers.
The album is not without hitches — tracks such as Heather and The Nile are just downright slow, especially in comparison to the energy of the first half of the record, and all the familiarity does tend to verge on predictability by the end of its run. But when it comes down to it, no one longs for comfort in the form of the unexpected at the end of a long, hard day. As Ponderosa proves, the familiar and safe, especially when done well, can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered.