“Fuck you, you’re not my friend! Fuck you, you’re not my friend!” These explosive and expletive first lines from Soda Pony’s standout song “Friendship” were somewhat of an anthem for me this past summer. Yes, it’s a bit of an unusual lyric to rally around but this passionate tune with clever Titanic-like descriptions of a sinking (friend)ship jumps from your speakers (watch a live performance below) and into your friendless and flustered little heart. It’s easy to call it one of the best songs from 2014.
The amusing qualities of “Friendship” do not lie just with this one vessel. Whitehorse’s Aiden Tentrees and Patrick Hamilton as a band are, foremost, fun. With their unique brand of synth/garage rock, they are another example of a duo that stretches the expectations and abilities of a two person band. They tag team on vocal duty, Hamilton plays bass synthesizers and percussion usually simultaneous, and Tentrees wields a keyboard and distorted guitar and has the propensity to launch into blistering guitar solos. All together it makes for a refreshingly creative outburst of sound.
Each song from Soda Pony’s (a subtle nod to The Outsiders?) Self Titled Debut Album is jammed with wit and imaginative tales of adventure, love, and a colourful cast of characters. Some noteworthy character based tunes include the comic book inspired “Archie,” complete with obvious yet great lines like, “the jalopy stopped so we walked to Pop’s, the soda shop,” and “Astronaut” which is about a trouble former space cadet and is outfitted with jittery, retro sci-fi sound effects.
Throughout Self Titled Debut Album, Soda Pony has moveable jams like the spirited “Stagecoach Robbery,” one of the more melodious of the ten song outfit, or the hilarious “Dolly.” The other side to the record is song with a more relaxed beat like “Green Queens” and “Ponies Again” which, thanks to its pedal steel ending, sounds more country than it actually should be classified, and gets these Soda Ponies a little sentimental.
Self Titled Debut Album is a treasure trove of great hits. Keep your eyes and ears pointed up North and get ready for the arrival of Soda Pony.
Top Track: “Friendship”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)