Dusted Reviews

Poni Hoax - Poni Hoax

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Poni Hoax

Album: Poni Hoax

Label: Tigersushi

Review date: Jul. 26, 2006

It’s getting tougher and tougher to describe these retro-wavo bands in wholly current terms, without referring to the names of bands and styles of music miscegenated therein. In the case of Parisian quintet Poni Hoax, it took me a few tries and some abstract thought walking to the subway from work. This group gleefully grabs cues from generations past and present, even the present that steals from the past.

If this sort of po-mo musical test tube baby is the kind of thing that will sicken you, and especially if you feel an aversion to synthesizers, then you better sit this one out.

The Tigersushi label has never been content to let the past be the past and the present be the present, from their early series of 12”s matching up a classic dance track with a current artist, right on up to this group, which pairs a singer, two keyboardists, a guitar player and a rhythm section in various modes of play against producer Joakim, known for his studio work with Tiefschwartz, Air, Annie, and Tiga, amongst others. There’s a nervous grandeur at play here that treads a somewhat narrow path, which some might attribute to Jarvis Cocker, Bryan Ferry or Jon “Dramarama” Easdale worship, or even a touch of the brothers Mael; urbane sophisticates that burn quirk and sweat cool, making it look as easy as mastering a French inhale and blowing smoke rings instead of the inhale/exhale most of use to get by. They’re wrong – or they’re not seeing the whole picture. Poni Hoax’s sound is largely John Foxx-era Ultravox gone ProTools with a very prominent Interpol fetish verging on knock-off (which we’ll get to later).

Again, anyone gagging yet, please leave the room.

This very particular influence – a professional marriage of technology and artifice to build – puts the group in a very precious place to start, which they would seem to relish. Singer Nicolas Ker camps it up in fine style, crooning in between frigid spoken turns on “She’s on the Radio” as synths pwee and electric guitars rush cinematically upwards in the mix. “Involutive Star” is some of the classiest dance-punk heard this week, with a very stagy but still intense break and perfectly jagged guitar hook, reminiscent of the Rapture. The frigid Flowers of Romance-esque movements of “Drunks and Painters on Parade” provide a nice, leavening backdrop for the shitstorm of angry synth snarl, overmodulated distortion, and arpeggiated coke-spasms of “L.A. Murder Motel,” which drops back to a picture-perfect harmonium fade-out. And if that wasn’t enough, we’re left with a piano ballad to close. So, that’s what’s right. What’s wrong is the paeans to Interpol, Editors, and similar-minded groups three times across the record; plaintive, simply constructed songs built out of that ringing guitar and unadorned, flat voice you’ve come to expect from the aforementioned. These songs break up the flow, proving nothing but padding out the runtime (two of the three tracks in question are the album’s longest). And with all of the other different styles of music coexisting here, these paeans to semi-popular music seem exceedingly gratuitous and out of place, as if the band couldn’t be comfortable with an album’s worth of electro-disco-cabaret excess. Ambitions overreach intent here, and I’ve got a feeling that rather than breaking ground, they’d just as soon choose to stick with whatever audiences respond to most.

It’s a shame when a few songs can sink an entire album, but these are what make Poni Hoax more of a calling card than something genuine, vampiring the life out of a Frankenstein’s Monster cobbling of styles. These dilettantes would wisely consider trimming the fat before any further efforts surface, and making real attempts to innovate where they are here merely retreading.

By Doug Mosurock

Other Reviews of Poni Hoax

Images of Sigrid

Read More

View all articles by Doug Mosurock

Find out more about Tigersushi

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.