New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom
Jorge Costa 10/07/2007
The release of New Young Pony Club's debut album has made one thing painfully obvious: 'Ice Cream' is probably the biggest prick tease of the year. That song's simple, yet infectious rhythms backing up Tahita Bulmer's cheeky come-ons pointed towards a great party album, but instead we get this flaccid offering, full of half-baked beats and clunky lyrics.
Aside from 'Ice Cream', there are few surprises to be found on 'Fantastic Playroom'. Where artists like LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip can successfully melt and mix indie and electronica together, these always sound like disparate elements on this record where synths are added almost as an afterthought.
Strands occasionally come together to give something reasonably satisfying, such as in the moody pair of 'The Get Go' and 'Talking, Talking'. However, the best track here is found in the jungle boogie of 'Hiding On The Staircase'; along with 'Ice Cream', these are the only tracks in which the bands intentions to create danceable music that you can sing along to is achieved. Elsewhere, the beats are too generic and the sound elements far too safe. Oh sure, you can probably just about dance to them in a club, but these songs are just screaming for remixers to give them an edge.
To cap it off, the band are nowhere near as sophisticated as they like to think they are. Bulmer's vocals veer from attitude filled sexiness to bratty whining, but what really lets the album down are the under-developed lyrics. Nowhere is this more apparent than the cringe-worthy 'The Bomb' in which Bulmer squawks “You really have to display information/to discover relativity!” Then there are the social commentary songs, 'Fan' (obsessions!) and 'Tight Fit' (about fitting in!) which provide nothing in the way of insight or satire.
Had the band concentrated on just making you want to dance, it would have been at least recommendable. It most likely would still sound as hollow as a disco ball, but at least it would have been without the pretence.