Review: In The Ponds ‘Polar Night’ EP

The Covid pandemic will forever go down as a horrendous time in history, what with the isolation, death, and destruction of both small businesses and families that it brought about. One small silver lining however was the sheer amount of music that was being produced during it, and for my part, I had plenty on offer to review for which I will be forever grateful. After all, when one has no choice but to kick about at home there is no other option but to get creative, whether that be via the written word, painting, or the production of music, for there are only so many Netflix series that one can get through at the end of the day.

In The Ponds 'Polar Night'

In The Ponds is one such band who decided to get proactive, composed of husband-and-wife duo David Perez (guitar) and Jennifer Gigantino (bass), they formed during the double whammy of both the aforementioned pandemic as well as the raging California wildfires that took place at the same time. Their prodigiousness resulted in this, a series of three EPs of which Polar Night is the first (the upcoming two are Fever Ranch and Last Stop Ranch respectively).

The first thing that opener Lonesome George reminds me of is Echo And The Bunnymen’s The Killing Moon, this is particularly unusual seeing as I’ve never been particularly partial to their work. There is however a shared elegance, a mournful elegiac quality which shadows the Bunnymen’s unique brand of gloomy new wave/post-punk goth-rock. There are also traces of Earth’s Ennio Morricone influenced Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method album resulting in a gorgeously dusty slab of Spaghetti Western that brings one a feeling of eternal peace.

Someone’s Always Watching may sound creepy and stalkerish as a title, but this isn’t necessarily reflected in the music, at least for the most part. Sound wise akin to surf-rock, I was reminded of brilliant Finnish guitarist Pekka Laine, whose wonderful solo debut album I had the honour of reviewing last year, it felt nostalgic more than anything, a distinct ‘50s twang, albeit one distilled through Twin Peaks. All that was needed was to be sat in Twede’s Cafe with a slice of cherry pie and a coffee as a way of completing the full effect.

the hypnotic and contemplative nature of the music affords it an emotional core and personal touch…

The final track on the release Haruki On The Sand is also its longest at over five minutes and judging by the title I have to assume it’s a nod to Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. It’s certainly a good deal heavier than the preceding tracks, and I use that word loosely. There is a groovier psychedelic desert vibe present that recalls bands such as Dead Meadow and Yawning Man and it’s absolutely lush.

If my reference to Murakami is proven to be accurate, then its sound certainly fits with the kind of surreal, otherworldly feel that author evokes. Indeed, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Murakami is noted as saying that his books especially appeal to people in times of turmoil and political chaos. The music produced on this track, as well as the rest of the EP, therefore is likewise reflective of the world, both then as well as the present day.

Post-rock can be a challenging listen, cold and impenetrable, and probably much more fun for its creators than its audience. That’s not the case here, the hypnotic and contemplative nature of the music affords it an emotional core and personal touch rarely, if ever, seen in the genre, which roughly translates to me eagerly awaiting successive efforts.

Label: Entelodon Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills