The wild trill Molly Siegel
lets loose at the beginning of "Beg Waves" lets listeners know that Ice Cream Spiritual!
is unmistakably a Ponytail
album, even if it's more neatly groomed than their debut was. Kamehameha
introduced the band's highly concentrated, highly combustible noise-punk-pop in saturated outbursts; it sounded like someone threw a few mikes into the fray and then got out of the way of the band's blazing onslaughts. Ice Cream Spiritual!
sounds much more produced and premeditated, and its songs are longer and maybe a touch more involved, but none of this halts Ponytail
's sugar-buzz energy -- if anything, the album's clarity gives a better idea of just how big the band's sound can be than Kamehameha
did. "Late for School"'s joyous guitar flurries and the noise-surf of "7 Souls" breeze by like lost songs from Ponytail
's first album, but "G Shock" -- which features fancy fretwork that sounds like sped-up funk, massive drums, and Siegel
's vocalizations (which sound a little like an avant-garde cheerleader cheering the rest of the band on to wilder and faster musical feats) -- swells up, explodes, and drifts away like a cloudburst. Ice Cream Spiritual!
's longer tracks push Ponytail
closer to the expansive territory of bands like OOIOO
, though Ponytail
's music is still more rock-based. Once their songs pass the four-minute mark, their energy becomes hypnotic instead of spastic. "Celebrate the Body Electric" runs the spectrum of Ponytail
's prettiest and noisiest sounds, but its shimmering guitars give it a desert rock trippiness; "Die Allman Bruder" channels, yes, the Allman Brothers
via Sonic Youth
. At times, the album's extended jams get a bit wearing, but Ice Cream Spiritual!
shows that Ponytail
's music is still equal parts challenging, melodic, and fun.