Music Reviews
The Optimist

New Young Pony Club The Optimist

(The Numbers) Buy it from Insound Rating - 9/10

One of my favourite books, among a group of others, I assure you, not entirely concerned with death, is Cormac McCarthy’s beautifully written The Road. There are a variety of reasons for this, among them impeccable narration, interesting themes, and a personal, peculiar fascination for anything morose, but, at the end of the day, it’s mostly due to the fact that he doesn’t give a flying fuck about me.

Allow me to explain.

With no lack of talent for what he’s actually there for, keeping readers entertained and interested while never slacking on style, McCarthy neither babies his audience nor does he attempt to lead them by the hand, and, through this particular tendency, he does his readers a favor. As any good leader will tell you (or perhaps keep it to themselves if they’re an especially cunning one) the best right hand man isn’t the one who’s only going to feed you what you want to hear, because there’s absolutely no point in fielding an opinion you would have thought of yourself when an actually useful second opinion is at all possible. Alabaster boned fish, cannibalistic nomads, kind hearted stalkers, and open endings are McCarthy’s bread and butter, while an irreverent and unabashed usage of them the venue in which he creates a world completely devoid of patronization or stooping of any kind. Writers such as Cormac McCarthy, along with the artists up for reviewal, refuse to submit to anything simple in order to make their message easier to follow, or, in the words of Chaos, from New Young Pony Club’s recently released album The Optimist, they “don’t take the breaks that were meant to save us/ [they] make life a bitter pill”, and damn, do they do it well.

The Optimist is what drugs would be if they didn’t turn your brain into two week old cottage cheese in a blender, in a microwave. It’s the music heard in that ultra exclusive club pictured in all the movies, the one where the cool and sexy are too busy slow motion dancing to care about how cool and sexy they are while they slow motion dance. It’s a hybrid car you can actually look good in while driving, dance music that’s, unbelievably at the same time, good music. It’s The Black Kids with their ambient, wandering attitude honed down to a laser-like focus. It’s CSS, it’s Paramore, it’s Miss Kittin, it’s bits of them all with a thousand times more attack.

It’s Deadmau5 and Imogen Heap’s illegitimate lovechild.

With their infectious beats and clear guitars mixed with head-bobbing electronic, New Young Pony Club has what cannot be learned, yet what is one hundred percent necessary for achieving greatness: hubris. Now, this isn’t the type of hubris you learned while sitting at the back of your grade 12 English class, paying precious little attention to that bald and sweaty man rambling on about Paradise Lost while really concentrating on where your next case of Pilsner’s going to come from. This hubris, more simply described as an impressive self-confidence, is the fuel, the raw material that the truly great draw upon. Masked behind varying degrees of a modesty imposed by Marianne Williamson’s “insecure” around us, the “Kids like unmanned ships” of New Young Pony Club’s Stone, is a self-surety that reads as a certain healthy disdain in The Optimist. From the seemingly inexplicable “Highya” refrain in Rapture to nearly unpredictable pauses in Lost a Girl, the choices all amount to a style which is refreshingly individualistic, one which teachers of all faculties prompt their students to discover, only to have them regurgitate their influences as if in a stomach-flu homage-to. Thankfully, the composure this band exhibits suggests that they would probably tell the teacher to shove it, then proceed to write yet another catchy-ass song.

As the sole critique, though, it does seem that they haven’t grown too much from a cursory listen of their past hit Ice Cream, although a more complete survey of the album could possibly reveal quite the opposite. Unfortunately, it’s late, I’m tired, and I’ve still got a literature test early tomorrow morning to fail.

“I thought I had a brain/ I don’t seem to have one.”

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