Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Pontiak-Valley of Cats

November 1, 2006

pontiakBand Name: Pontiak

Album Name: Valley of Cats

Best element: Cosmic leap in songwriting ability
Genre: Rock

Website: www.pontiak.net

Label name: FireProof Records
Band e-mail: info@pontiak.net

There’s enough firepower in just the first five tracks of Pontiak’s Valley of Cats to make me want to rant and rave about it- and there are still 8 more songs to get me more excited than I already am.

Valley of Cats is such a cosmic leap in songwriting from their previous EP White Buffalo that it’s almost not even worth comparing the two. Valley of Cats focuses on intensity, either bursting forth or brooding below the surface- White Buffalo EP seemed content to plod. White Buffalo EP made me think about what genre it fell in- Valley of Cats makes it clear that Pontiak is here to rock you. If the Strokes came down from the Appalachians, the music that they would be blasting as they rode into town in their pick-ups would be the earthy yet rocking tones of Pontiak’s new album.

It’s tough to write about something this entirely good- it’s one of those albums that you turn on any song and put it at any place in the song and you’ve got a part that makes you think “oh yeah, this is a cool part!” Whether it’s the eerie minimalism of the end of “Hydrogen Fires”, the post-punk guitar and wailing choir of “Ask for Attention”, the revved up guitars of opener “Crows on the Move”, the wicked bass/drums intro to “Eyes”, or the stomping 70’s guitar and bass of the title track, every song here is awesome. If you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not- I literally used the technique I described earlier to pick the aforementioned cool sections. This album will blow your mind.

Whatever happened to Pontiak over the last year or so, it must have been significant, because it turned them into a rock machine. The astounding thing is that there are only three men in Pontiak, and they’ve completed a nearly flawless rock album- it’s innovative, it’s head-bobbing, it’s got something to yell along to, it’s got heavy songs (“Salt Flats”), it’s got light songs (“Made for the Luxury”), and it’s got to be in your collection. This is the best band I have heard about all year, and I thought I already knew about them. This is the release of the year so far, and there’s only two months left in the year. A monumental release.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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