Some Stupid With A Flare Gun (Checkered Past Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Since leaving A&M Records in 1996, the Ass Ponys have, to put it nicely, done next to nothing. But four year later the sardonic quartet is back with their wacky, off-kilter rock 'n' roll and a renewed outlook, a new line-up, and another chance to reclaim their fan base.
The roots-y Some Stupid With A Flare Gun is loaded with pulsating rock, sneaky pop, and a natural, from-the-ground-up soul that helps emphasize the roots appeal of the music.
"Pretty As You Please" tackles growing old and suicide with tongue-in-cheek enthusiasm. The 'holding back the laughter' vocals stumbles with country charm, telling a story and poking fun at its own characters while doing so.
"Astronaut" dives right into some crunchy rock. Pop in hand, the hooks slide right into place, reeling you in with a friendly invite, and then roughing you up with some country grooves that bash right up aside you before shaking you with more pop wit.
The beauty of the Ass Ponys is their ability to be serious throughout a tongue-in-cheek tale, leaving it up to the listener to 'get it' or just enjoy it.
"Sidewinder" feels so relaxed, like a band just sitting in the studio, kicking it, and without any fears or pressures, rehearing a new song after a big barbecue and a few beers. This easy-going, carefree attitude carries over to other songs like "X-tra Nipple," a twisted walk through heavily distorted guitars, slamming beats, and multiple vocals that just come flying out of nowhere.
Alt-country, pop-rock, roots-rock... all of these labels come close to the Ass Ponys, but none really hit it on the head, as Some Stupid With A Flare Gun attests. Simply four guys, a studio, an engineer, and a producer, Ass Ponys deliver real blue-collar rock 'n' roll; probably without realizing it themselves. It's one big party that's fun and just doesn't want to end. It's your lucky day; I'll give it an A-.