There’s a dreamy lede to the band bio for the Real Ponchos, conjuring still lakes, windy plains and the serene stillness of evening. It’s classic imagery for a band that draws heartily on traditional folk and country roots in their sophomore album, To The Dusty World.
It’s been busy for the band since their 2013 start—an EP, a full-length debut and enough interest to tour the country a couple of times over as a result. The hard-working Vancouverites have been busy prepping and promoting their latest release, a flowing seven-song endeavor full of wandering visuals and the peaceful release of being in between places.
Rocking and rolling, swaying and stamping—it’s all an option on To The Dusty World as Ben Arsenault and Emile Scott croon along to the guitars—their wailing edge modernizing the old-school country perfectly captured by both of Arsenault and Scott’s voices.
Still, there’s a reason the band has pegged itself as “psychedelic country soul.” Sixties rock sounds meld with 90s grunge as Arsenault’s voice climbs high in opener “No Show” and Scott murmurs along with “Cherchez Les Femmes.”
But the album is less intent on flashing genres than reveling in the sounds that come when they combine. Seven-minute wonder “Flatline Rose” is almost two songs in one as a luxurious guitar solo dances its way through the bridge and drives the focus to the band’s captivating sounds. Time passes inconspicuously as the album nudges you further into it’s own journey.
The slow open on “Passing Through” is another dreamlike-state waiting to happen before the penultimate track plays itself out for an extended ten-minute meditation. It’s traveling music at its finest as kilometres fall away and the trip itself becomes the goal—or, as we’re still in the midst of February’s dumps—a joyous way to spend the afternoon lost in a better world from the coziness of home.
Top Track: “Passing Through”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)