On their second album, Minneapolis duo Pony Bwoy deliver 13 tracks of experimental, shadowy R&B. Singer Jeremy Nutzman’s lyrics are distorted, muffled and rarely intelligible. You can’t make the words out on track one, but by the second, he’s channelling Prince, and a couple of phrases emerge. When he occasionally raps or breaks into haunting spoken word, you can hear the lyrics, if not fully understand their meaning.
Producer Hunter Morley’s beats are coolly industrial and tribal, warmed up with synths and manipulated vocal samples, and sprinkled with abstract sounds like traffic and dogs barking. It’s getting repetitive to compare every woozy, after-party-ready act to the Weeknd, but that Toronto sound surfaces – albeit much more experimentally.
Burning Smooth (with its contemporary R&B vibe) and ki-o-te (funky guitar) are immediately catchy, and On Old Bones harkens back to boom bap. These three tracks remain avant-garde yet anchored by a solid, continuous beat. We keep coming back to them. Too many of the others – despite pleasantly landing somewhere between dreamy and dark – get lost in the fog.
Top track: ki-o-te