RIYL: gritty psychedelia
Label: Thrill Jockey
As is tradition with Thrill Jockey, there’s no preview available for any of the tracks on this album – at least that I’m aware of. Thrill Jockey usually will upload a track to YouTube (and/or their site) in a time after the announcement. Pontiak luckily aren’t a new band, so we do have some semblance of what to expect from the three brothers’ latest effort. Emphasis on “some” because in the album synopsis, Thrill Jockey clarifies that the band have decided to go in a different direction. However, the synopsisÂ seems to reassure the audience that the stoner-esque, sludgy psychedelic mental pummelingÂ will still be here. Listening toÂ Innocence, the band’s last album, it’s hard to believe that this comes from three people raised in the Virginia countryside. This sounds more apt for shooting up dope in a dilapidated alley than looking at the sunset on a ranch. Listen to InnocenceÂ below via the Bandcamp player to get an idea of what to expect and keep your eyes peeled for a preview from this album. See what you think of it. Cheers!
Whereas Pontiakâs 2014 album Innocence tore through rowdy riffs and melancholic balladry in a neat half hour, itâs immediately clear from the reverb-heavy trip of opener âEasy Does Itâ that Dialectic of Ignorance is altogether a different beast. Euphorically defying spatial constraint, brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney instead opt to guide each song along its own cosmic trajectory: confident in the outcome, but even more excited to enjoy the ride.
Bloody-knuckled basslines bring a snarling Desert Session groove to âIgnorance Makes Me Highâ and âHerb Is My Next Door Neighborâ, whilst woozy Gilmour-esque vocal harmonies imbue âHidden Prettinessâ and âYouth and Ageâ with a psychoacoustic dose of cerebral inertia. Those who have seen the brothers perform live know of their ability to harmonize, but Dialectic of Ignorance is the first album in which this talent is showcased in every song. âWe Fucked Upâ is a pedal to the metal stoner-psych opus, while âTomorrow Is Forgottenâ burns hot and slow; potent from the first note whilst relentlessly cranking up the intensity.
Pontiak grew up and live on farms in rural Virginia. Dialectic of Ignoranceâs expansive structures echo the rugged, hazy climbs of this Blue Ridge Mountain setting, but donât be fooled; this is no mere collection of pastoral instrumental landscapes. Having opened their own brewery in August 2015, the Carney brothers have had the opportunity to reassess their creative process through brewing. The lessons learned from this experimentation have had a formative effect on the both the process underlying and subsequent sound of Dialectic of Ignorance.
âThereâs a definite dovetail between brewing and music,â explains Pontiak guitarist and lead vocalist Van Carney. âBoth are creative processes that are full of immediate possibility. In the studio you face logistical, technical and creative challenges that are constantly evolving; itâs on you as the creator to decide which path you want to take. Brewing is no different.â
An expanded awareness of process has emboldened Pontiakâs musical explorations on Dialectic of Ignorance. âThereâs beauty and truth and goodness in all hardships, and it takes strength to see that,â Van adds. âWe learned that thereâs limitless opportunity ahead if youâre ready to pursue it.â Literary influence was also important, with particular inspiration drawn from Karl Ove KnausgĂ„rdâs sprawling confessional style, and the expressive, highly visual approach mastered by writers such as Bohumil Hrabal and Leo Tolstoy.
With post-truth politics implementing lasting change through manufactured narratives, the creative ownership Pontiak display on Dialectic of Ignorance is both elevating and empowering. Still, âitâs not a political album,â Van asserts. âThe message we want to get across is the importance of being present in the moment. Maybe everything is fucked. But you can do something about that.â
Dialectic of Ignorance was recorded between January and October 2016 in Pontiakâs own âStudio Aâ in Virginia. âRunning the brewery definitely stretched the process out, but that was a good thing,â says Van. âIt gave us time to think, mull over things, and throw stuff away when necessary. Weâd come in to the brewery early each morning, put on what weâd recorded the previous day, listen to it while we worked, and shoot ideas at each other. It was a meditative, flowing process.â
- Maybe Buy
- Not My Style
- Too Expensive