Known for their floor-shaking, sugar-fueled live sets, local quartet Ponytail is shockingly melodic on its debut album, Kamehameha, recently released on local art-rock baron Peter Quinn's fledgling Creative Capitalism label. Though usually described as post-art school punk, or pop-punk, or whatever people are calling the undeniably infectious rock that's started multiplying in the depths of the Copy Cat Building, Ponytail nimbly defies classification.
Similar to fellow Wham City regulars Ecstatic Sunshine, Ponytail trades heavily on the sheer level of noise and number of riffs that can be created with two lead guitarists. That's unsurprising, really, since both outfits include ace ax-man Dustin Wong. Kamehameha finds Ponytail mashing out melodies that alternately evoke spaghetti-western Indian war chants, ska, surf rock, carousel calliopes, and "Momma's Little Baby Loves Shortenin' Bread." On "Dear God Plz Make My 2Eyes N2 One," drummer Jeremy Hyman deftly lifts a drum lick from the Beatles' Abbey Road before guitarists Ken Seeno and Wong launch into a lovely duel of coruscating arpeggios--cribbed directly from Tchaikovsky's Peter and the Wolf--that eventually collapse in a crash of noise.
But the element that sets Ponytail apart from its contemporaries is vocalist Molly Siegel. Alternately channeling a tortured dolphin and a riot grrl who's swallowed a staple gun, Siegel yowls, squeaks, and growls emphatically, yet unintelligibly, over the band's rambunctious grooves. Her vocal antics, more sonic garnish than main event, add a vaguely sexual element of human frustration to Ponytail's twisted carnival groove, her frenzied squeals reminiscent of Peter Pan's defiant, "I gotta crow!" She and Ponytail speak a language that the right audience will understand all too well.