Pony Girl is a six-piece band from Ottawa, Ontario with a hefty DIY mentality—they design their own webpages, create their own album art, and film their own music videos. All this on top of releasing indie pop music with a folk flavour.
They describe the music they make as “painting soundscapes” that are “anchored by guy-girl pop harmonies,” a description that manages to feel particularly apt while still leaving you wondering. The soundscapes on debut release Show Me Your Fears transition, even through genres, without attracting attention to the breaks in song, so that the album has nearly run its course before you realize “Sun of the Morning” has long been over.
Possibly the one track to really jolt your senses is “Guardian,” a two-minute instrumental track that reminds me, of all things, of a Disney music bed. While the song builds up slowly through the whistling of a flute, it bursts out with frequent, frantic notes on the cello, pulling me back to my childhood of hand drawn animation.
In contrast, “Better Days” is a hypnotic, primarily synth track with vocals that encourage you to drift away with the rhythmically dripping beat—and then just like that the song gathers force before relinquishing it once again, moving in and out as it connects to the rest of the album. The transitions can catch you by surprise once you realized they’re all contained within a six-minute song held together by a recurring chorus.
“Please Do” is another instrumental interlude, but it takes on a mellow tone as notes and chords from acoustic guitars are layered upon each other with the subtlest touches of a keyboard. The cool melody moves smoothly into “Sleeptalk,” with vocals that embody their title—cool, whispered words, speaking gently above a synthetic/acoustic mix, an end result that sounds like a well-preserved but old recording. The shift in the middle provides some of the most fascinating percussion on the album, adding and layering while the line “He knows best when to give up” is repeated with increasing intensity.
In many cases, the songs of Show Me Your Fears change more within themselves than they do between each other—deftly transitioning between synth-driven dreamer tracks, and more folk-pop indie. It’s a varied debut that offers up plenty without ever overwhelming, where each novel piece is tucked in and framed by a chorus or a tone that centres it within the album. In this way, the album embodies the soundscapes Pony Girl ascribed themselves—capturing a broad spectrum and linking it all together as a work of art.
Top Track: “Better Days”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)