Pontiak, Maker

Pontiak, Maker

As the first raw, lava-lamp guitar chords of “Laywayed” rolled forth from my headphones, my first thought was that if this CD was about twice as long, it would be great to listen to it on acid. It wasn’t long, however, before I was forced to reconsider.

WARNING: Do not listen to Maker on LSD, magic mushrooms, or any other hallucinogenic substance. At least, not unless you can afford a new stereo, because you’re going to tear your stereo to pieces looking for a loose connection if you do. The CD is liberally peppered with amplifier buzzes, sudden silences, odd effects, noises, stereo-mono shifts, and other things which often make it sound like there’s a problem with your stereo equipment. I must’ve checked my headphone cable eighty or ninety times during the span of 41 minutes.

The odd-duck production notwithstanding, Pontiak delivers a buzzworthy psychedelic sound to rival that of Pink Floyd back when they were known as THE Pink Floyd. (Yeah, that long ago.)

Overall, the album leaves the listener wanting both less and more. Some of the shorter songs, such as “Blood Pride,” “Headless Conference,” and “Heat Pleasure” could have been left off of the CD altogether and they’d probably never be missed. On the other hand, some of the better tracks, like “Wild Knife Night Fight” and “Seminal Shining,” disappoint by being too short — very enjoyable, but before you get a chance to fully enjoy them, the song’s over.

By contrast, the title cut clocks in at a cumbersome thirteen and a half minutes, and while it’s quite an interesting sonic journey, it could have been cut to about eight minutes without losing anything but excessive repetition. Overall, it’s pretty good, but I’d really like to hear a shorter version of this song, perhaps more cleanly recorded. Be sure to open your ears extra wide, though, for “Wax Worship,” “Aestival,” and “Honey.” Of all the songs on the album, these are among the best.

This CD, while certainly not without its strengths, is a shining example of why most bands hire producers, rather than self-produce as Pontiak does. If you want a reason not to buy this CD, the overall production quality would be a good one. On the other hand, if you want to know why you should buy it, I would say that Pontiak’s music itself is as a good reason as any to overlook the production value and buy it anyway.

Better yet, go see them live when they play tonight. Bring your favorite psychedelic substance(s) and a designated driver.

[Pontiak is playing 6/7/09 at The Mink, along with Ghost Town Electric & Cavernous.]
(Thrill Jockey Records -- P.O. Box 08038, Chicago, IL. 60608; http://www.thrilljockey.com/; Pontiak -- http://www.pontiak.net/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Sunday, June 7th, 2009. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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