Ponytail – Do Whatever You Want All The Time
On a recent day in September, music fans everywhere reacted to the news that R.E.M. had decided to break up. However, the same day a much less famous band, but perhaps one that still had a bit more potential for future growth, also announced that it was calling it a day. The breakup of the wonderful, inventive Baltimore quartet Ponytail was not exactly a shock — in fact their split had been preceded by a lack of touring and lots of speculation about the band’s status — but it was still sad to hear. But the band left behind one last album, Do Whatever You Want All The Time, released earlier this year before calling it quits, and it’s a worthy addition to their legacy.
The seven tracks on Do Whatever expand on the already expansive palette of sounds Ponytail displayed on 2007′s Ice Cream Spiritual. Guitarist Dustin Wong’s ear for unique textures has even grown with the experiments of his 2010 solo album Infinite Love, and vocalist Molly Siegel continues to be an inimitable, indefinable presence rather than a typical frontwoman.
“Flabbermouse” stands out as one of the best tracks on the album, beginning with sweetly melodic guitar licks that could be out of a ’60s surf rock song,. But soon Ponytail are pouring a dozen other sonic elements into the pot, and letting the intensity of the track rise and fall in gentle waves, too subtle and unpredictable for a stereotypical post-rock band’s simple loud/quiet contrasts. The members of Ponytail may have had their reasons for disbanding, but their final album sure sounds like a band still thrilling each other with the joy of creativity.