Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Gone - Pong (2014)

Wow. First post of the new year, and I believe my first review ever! I thought I'd have to really dig down & describe a bunch of tunes, but looks like SoundCloud's gonna bail me out.

Just recently got to catch one of my main favorites, Pong (#3 of 2010, #1 of 2005) here in Houston again, for the first time since those #1 Live Shows of 2010. The occasion was releasing an all-new studio album, Gone, on Saustex Media. Buy the LP or CD from them here, get the CD or MP3 from Amazon, or AAC format on iTunes.

"Still Here" [live 2012], from Gone (2014)

That opening track started cropping up on live YouTubes awhile back, at least 2012 as shown there. "Still Here" kicks up a ruckus & kicks off some kind of general overall theme: being here or there, wanting to be elsewhere, going or being gone, a longing nostalgia / time travel... perhaps even survival. "They may be gone, but we are all still here." Experience the studio version via Pong SoundCloud.

My personal pick to click, "Livin in the Future" does best that relatively laid-back Pong mid-tempo stroke. Fits in a lot without goin' totally nuts (see next), catchy as hell from the beats on up. Various nice guitar parts that build to a funky blowout. That's a really well-constructed pop song there!

Uncork the nuttiness now. This one goes back at least to that 2010 Cactus in-store, when they were releasing the previous album. "Fish Sauce" is brewed from like The B-52's, Devo... I dunno, Mr. Bungle or maybe Fishbone (dat skankin' bass). Also, Gilligan's Island, Tootsie Pops, maybe Nilsson even? So much guitar texture: crinkly rippling, ersatz island slack-key, Morse Code. And the theme reappears.

"Electronic Friend" from Gone (2014)

I'm gonna back up a bit to the 2nd track. As explained over at Blurt Online, it's about a free iPad. And there's an official video.

Okay, cool.

I don't think Pong has ever done anything like "Sleepwalker" before - so normal-ish, like in a sincere Ween mode. A sleepy longing vibe, until... the wake-up? So Shane basically likes to get hit everywhere but the face? Ow! "Being dumb could be a virtue. OH NO!"

Whoa, new girl Kerri Atwood (only 5 years!) gets a full-fledged lead vocal - very nice. Like the song, like the driving momentum, love the breakdown. Frame it! Bury it! Walk twenty paces away!

"Lyman" is the drummer of Pong.

And "The Spot" finishes up the album. Kind of smoldering for awhile, it builds & builds, moving forward, but with lots of subtly ranging accompaniment (the music part). Solid wrap-up, good record!

Given that we're talking Pong, my range of reactions was limited and predictable. But I'm really happy with this one already.