Kamehameha opens with a chorus of voices rising seemingly out of a void and fading into the first strains of the bright, noodly guitar that suffuses the album, followed closely by the warbling of vocalist Molly Siegel. The album truly kicks off when all the instruments come tumbling in to finish out the last minute of the song. Ponytail trade in bursts, their longest song little over three and a half minutes, making this ten-track debut very brief indeed. Still, despite the brevity, Ponytail exude profuse joyousness and it is clear from the first track on that the guitarists and drummer mesh wonderfully while allowing one another space for galvanizing solos. Vocalist Siegel sounds like a kitten in her first heat or in her throatier moments, a teenybopper wicked witch. Her vocal styling might appeal to fans of Deerhoof, however those expecting the candied shrieks of Satomi Matsuzaki will be disappointed as Siegel is less a frontwoman than an accent.
Deerhoof is also a good point of reference for Ponytail on the whole. Both bands are accessible routes into more unhinged experimental Indie rock, and both trade in nearly ineffable glee. Another group that will likely crop up in comparison is The Boredoms. Personally, I find a similarity with the guitar work in The Advantage, although Ponytail is devoid of self-aware nerdiness. Their closest brethren are fellow Baltimoreans Ecstatic Sunshine, and it's no surprise as the bands share guitarist Dustin Wong. I urge anyone who enjoys Ponytail to seek out Ecstatic Sunshine, a stripped-down affair of two guitarists whose recently released album Freckle Wars churns out startingly robust and layered harmonies. You’ll thank me, I swear.
Despite the trying vocals, the album is delightfully uplifting, and rather than whipping one’s flagging spirits into shape, it froths them. Additionally, the packaging, designed by music and art book purveyors Creative Capitalism, is lovely and innovative, with an eye towards conservation and waste reduction. Creative Capitalism has a number of exciting releases in store for the end of this year and into next, many highlighting the crème of Baltimore’s burgeoning super scene. They are definitely a label to keep tabs on.