Ponys Celebration Castle

At the outset, Celebration Castle seems poised to live up to its moniker. The second full-length release for the Ponys blasts off with a military-like snare call to arms on the track "Glass Conversation.” This cutting, jangly drone sets up for a moody yet danceable post-punk feel without depending on the angular disco of Gang of Four, as many other bands have of late. Instead, we are treated to a collage of fuzzy ’60s tones and arrangements, and velvety shoegazing that the early ’90s underground was swept up in, and the aforementioned ’80s wave. Following up this track are three more remarkable ones, including the stellar "Today,” which feels like the Fall’s Mark E. Smith decided to give up his acidic pessimism for the ironic bounce of a Ray Davies stomp. Unfortunately the party fades slightly after the dizzy pop of "I’m with You.” Some of the drone-y melodies seem to hang around for a little too long without any interesting texture. Yet there are exceptional moments — the catchy B-52’s like unison back up vocal in "We Shot the World” and the tempo-distorting change up in "Discoteca” stand out. It’s these details in the Ponys’ song craft that’ll keep the faithful coming back to the Castle. (In The Red)