What: Fantastic Playroom
When: July 2007
Dismissed as posturing try hards, hanging on to the coattails of “New Rave” in 2007, New Young Pony Club’s debut, Fantastic Playroom is, well.. A good first effort but nowhere near as good as the spearheaders of that movement (We’re talking Klaxons here, just in case that wasn’t glaringly obvious) and with the price of decent stationery what it is, it’s hardly something to write home about.
The whole album is underpinned by a driving, danceable beat, however the infectiousness of that beat is undercut somewhat by the fact that the opening track, Get Lucky, is pretty repetitive. It takes a while, but by the album’s second half, they really hit their stride. Jerk Me has rhythm and a swagger than the opening tracks really lacked, I’m a sucker for having the bass high in the mix (this won’t be the last time I say this, in fact, it’s likely to become a catchphrase) and it really sets this track apart. On Get Go, guitars clang, over another (wonderfully audible) bassline, while singer Ty Bulmer pulls off snarky without being snotty, and Talking, Talking is a sultry little number, with Ty informing us gently but firmly that she “don’t wanna talk about it”.
Unfortunately, occasionally her voice is what lets a lot of this album down, in Hiding on the Staircase, it’s effective, the contrast between her flat intonation and the light, bouncy, latin-style beat prevents it from just plodding along. However on Grey, not even the really cool opening video game bleeps can prevent her from sounding tired and bored. It also ends up sounding a lot like the Ting Tings and now that I’ve made that association I can’t get it out of my head.
As a whole, the album is pretty fun, and there are a few really great moments. Bomb is probably the catchiest of the lot, it’s good fun. Tight Fit is reaching for something that it almost, almost hits.. The stabbing synths are really frakking awesome, there is something there, but it just misses the step from good to great.
There’s something endearing about them though, and while I can’t help but feel that the “New Rave” tag may have really actually hurt them somewhat, the inescapable fact is that there’s nothing terribly offensive about this album.. It’s just there.