PONY DA LOOK with THRILLVILLEb and BANK MACHINEb at the Silver Dollar (486 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, July 3). $7. 416-763-9139. Rating: NNNNN
Pony Da Look think it's quite funny that they've ended up in the Vibes section this week. Not that they have anything against dance music, but DJ culture definitely doesn't influence what they do. The four-piece synths and drums band may not have any guitars, but punk rock would be a better starting point for describing them than synth pop or electro, let alone house.
"I never would have thought of us as dancey," says main songwriter Temple Bates. "But people have been dancing at our shows lately."
Over the past few years, Pony Da Look have gone through various lineup changes and have already released one very limited-edition album that you probably haven't heard.
Their new CD, The Forcefield Weakens, contains two songs from that first recording but is much more representative of what they sound like these days.
"When we first started, the songs were a lot more silly and we were mainly singing together. Now Amy (Bowles) has taken on more of a lead vocalist role and the songs have been getting more aggressive."
Despite their professed ignorance of dance music, their take on post-punk synth rock is actually perfectly in line with the cutting edge of dance music's newer strands.
While their approach is definitely not unique, they do manage to combine wider influences than you'd think at first listen. Some of their work is actually reminiscent of Broadway musicals, and there are traces of opera-style flamboyance and drama as well as bubble-gum pop.
"Lately, I've actually been really into Uriah Heep and that kind of psychedelic stuff," admits Bowles.
One of the factors that might make Pony Da Look stand out from the rest of the post-punk revival is that their take on it is unintentional. They're aware they're not alone in what they're doing but swear they're not doing it on purpose.
None of the people who've ever played with them have ever played in bands before. Their use of cheap Casio synths is more a result of having taken piano lessons as kids and then finding a keyboard in the garbage. Deciding to play together for kicks, they just happened to choose the perfect time to start a band without guitars.