Ponies In The Surf - See You Happy
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Ponies In The Surf
See You Happy

Alex and Camile McGregor are a brother/sister duo that have been creating charming indie pop music for some time now under the name Ponies In The Surf, but unfortunately both the releases that they've put out to date have been on labels that have since shuttered their doors. See You Happy is their third release (following their A Demonstration EP and their Ponies On Fire full length). Blending vintage American pop sounds with a touch of Samba and folk, their music is sweet without being overly precious, and decently varied given their sound palette.

The first three songs on the release give a good idea of the flavor to expect from the group, as "16a" starts things off slow and sparse with only quiet acoustic guitar and vocals from the two, while "Walkin' In The City" bumps things up with a tom tom heavy sunny romp that blends in some reverb-soaked surf-style guitar and organs for what is easily one of their best songs ever. "Sweet And Low" follows with a slight country and western tinge, and it's one of several songs from their debut EP that have been re-recorded for this album (which is essentially their introduction to the world given the mostly defunct nature of their past labels).

In general, See You Happy is both more upbeat and slightly more fleshed-out than past work from the duo. "Another Mind" is another racing gem that keeps a brisk pace with a kick drum and bursts of snare while intricate guitar patterns and sparse bass lines take the group to a slightly darker pace while vocals from Alex and Camile spiral off one another. "Out There Friends" is a bit more rough in recording quality, but the soft tape hiss, flute backing and warm guitar makes for a lovely heady atmosphere that fits their sound perfectly. Early editions of the release come with a bonus disc that features six different covers from the group, and the range of artists that they interpret are pretty much a perfect example of their influences (which includes "Heaven" by Talking Heads, "A Bunch Of Lonesome Heroes" by Leonard Cohen, and "Te Extrano Tanto" by Palito Ortega). It's not the sort of release that's going to really knock you out, but it's spry and sharp and arrives as just the perfect time in early summer.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2008-07-03 18:08:38