When I first heard Pony Express, on Tooth & Nail’s Artcore Volume 2 compilation, the first thing that came to mind was Starflyer 59. Now that I hear their debut full-length on Velvet Blue Music (which is owned by Pony Express’ front man, Jeff Cloud), the comparison still holds a lot of water.
Pony Express consists of Cloud on guitars and vocals (he also plays with Joy Electric and Starflyer 59), Darryl Mitchell (Upside Down Room) on bass, and Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) on drums. Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mitchell and Martin’s bands have more than their fair share of influence on Pony Express’ sound. I don’t say that to deride or undermine the sound, but it’s easy to see influences. “Together We’re Electric” sounds just like an Upside Down Room song with a hint of the Jesus and Mary Chain. And, as I said before, it is very easy to compare Pony Express with Starflyer’s sound, especially on the Gold album: lazy, breathy vocals over slow, mellow guitars and sparse drums and bass.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know what to write about this album. I guess I like it, but not for obvious reasons, such as “it sounds like Starflyer 59.” Pony Express aren’t groundbreaking, by any means — but then again, I don’t think they ever claimed to. I can’t say how long this album will be a regular in my CD player. It has its share of catchy tunes, especially “Stocks and Bonds” and “Before September” (my fave track). But overall, there’s nothing that really leaps out and grabs my attention. Since the album clocks in under 25 minutes, it practically over before any of it sinks in. It’s pleasant enough, but that’s about it.
My advice: don’t run away from this album, but listen to it before you buy it.