Death to Ponies' first album, Swine Water was, to put it mildly, a bit of a belter. The result of a one-day jam session between death-jazz-metallers Death to Giants and electro chaps The Horses, it was certainly one of the hits of 2013. People dug it, including this reviewer, who called it 'a smooth, well-navigated ride through an epic, weird landscape.'
What else was begat in that fateful jam session? Do more treasures abound, or are we now trudging through the b-roll? Not gonna lie, it's got to be a pretty special session that yields more than one album's worth of useable material.
Luckily, there's more in the tank and the 20 minutes of music definitely stands on its own. Obviously some themes are familiar, but a new array of synths and samples help distinguish it from Swine Water. There are some lighter textures and more upbeat vibes that make a nice contrast to the brood-fest that was Swine Water.
Initially I wondered if some of the new elements were added in post production, but once again, this album is the raw, untouched result of the jam session. Like Swine Water, there's enough of a sense of structure as the piece moves between grooves that it still feels secure, with a sense of direction. Whilst Swine Water was a slower odyssey through dark territory, this is more of a whirlwind tour, but it's still one Hell of a journey.
Strong work once again then, and it's whetted our appetite for a final 3 track EP. Maybe Death to Ponies could share their secret to an all day jam that produces a killer first album and the difficult follow-up. My guess is that it involves starting with a nice healthy snack.
Words by Pete J