Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Ponches- HUM

I love it when I'm totally caught off gaurd with a band. It doesn't happen very often! While I've turned my attention to and appreciated The Ponches for now a few years since first hearing The Long Goodbye, I really had zero idea what I was in for when I walked into Cox 18 to watch a show in Milan last October. I was excited to see them but so unaware at the same time of how powerful they really are. As they started to play, their wall of sound first hit me from behind as I was talking to a friend. I could do nothing else but turn around and let the magnetic draw of what they were doing pull me in. Off to the side of the stage, I fell head over heels in love with this quartet based out of Ferriera, Italy that night and it was so cool to see the songs I'd been listening to for all this time then some from their latest record too be played live! They've been together for ten years, always taking the next step every time they walk out of the studio and "HUM" is a little piece of punk rock brilliance I want to make sure you know about today.

The songs were recorded and mixed during early Spring at New Mood Recording Studio by Frederic Mazzei who also took on the role of producer. The end result between The Ponches and Frederic sonically is beautiful. But it's no secret that he is always reliable for quality work! I gotta say the first thing to draw my interest before any songs were revealed is the cover art for "HUM". I actually brought it up with Lorenzo in Milan and I thought it was very cool to discover that the artist used was one that doesn't typically go with this genre of music. Costin Chioreanu, who is based out of  Bucharest, Romania has an extensively long background as creator of imagery for mainly metal bands but his vision adapted quite well for this cover. Essentially focusing in around the concept of UVB-76 radio waves, the seemingly endless line of hypnotized figures against a somewhat bleak, but beautifully shaded sky along with the tower make it one of my absolute favorites for this year. Official release happened on August 31st, 2015 and it was a joint effort between One Chord Wonder and Monster Zero. It is available on either CD or LP(download included), and digital only can be found on the OCW bandcamp page where all 12 amazing songs are streaming in full.  

Absorbed is the perfect word for the state I fall into every time I hear the all too unique sound of The Ponches. That fondness is a result of their being everything I know and don't at the same time. While they stay in patterns my heart is faithful to such as their consistency to keep songs below or rarely above the two minute mark like a good punk rock song should be, the sound then branches out to it's own presence. While holding a steady melodic character, there's this super heavy fullness with a darker undertone that takes the punk rock they play to another level and it's breathtaking to me. Especially on a pair of headphones where this record has seemed to be appearing lately whenever I'm out in the world running errands and would rather hear something worthwhile opposed to the general public! All of these points are heard right from the first 20 seconds of Side A. "Through The End" is very classic, fast paced, and direct in it's presentation but the lyrics give it another layer with their introspection. All parts fit together like a machine and Alessandro's voice is powerful, holding a vulnerable beauty like always. I think that's all I really needed to hear to be sold on this record but lucky for us, there's 11 more tracks. Another aspect of this band that I'm very into is that they have two equally as brilliant vocals that play well off of each other and you'll hear Lorenzo take the lead in "Got Sushi?!". Aside from being a talented drummer, he's got such a soulful quality to the way he sings. "Billy Milligan" follows and a great job is done encompassing the complexity of his multiple personalities in the lyrics, with some great leads played by Alberto, and it's all done in under a minute and a half! It's impressive how much they can fit in such a short space. One of my very favorites for the record, "The Russian Way" shows up at the end of this side and I'm smitten with it for a number of reasons from the bass line Tony plays that drives the mid-tempo pace to the lovely guitar parts and vocal harmonies too. Perfect arrangement! Side B starts like a punch and then leads into much more. "He Came From The Cold" is another absolute gem and then the first song that had me wanting this record immediately can be found as well. "UVB-76" was the song they previewed before release to introduce "HUM" and I loved it so much that I listened to it a dozen times right away. Almost like a love song for insanity, the lyrics are so cool, the vocals are goosebump inducing, and it really stands out as the most poppy track in this collection of songs. The closer, "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" is another of my favorites for it's well done bridge and it ties into the Billy Milligan story too.  

"HUM" is such an amazing little gem in this year's releases. It's a picture of a band that's been together for a decade and I hope they stay around for another because music only benefits from the presence of one as defined as The Ponches are. I'm so happy to own this record and if you've not picked it up yet, make sure to go place an order with One Chord Wonder or Monster Zero! Follow The Ponches on facebook for all upcoming transmissions. Surely whatever they do next will be worthy of your attention.

The Ponches are...
Alessandro as Zack- Vocals and Guitar
Lorenzo as Larry- Vocals and Drums
Alberto as Bolzo- Guitar
Antonio as Tony- Bass

All songs by The Ponches

Side A 
1. "Through The End"
2. "Got Sushi?!"
3. "Billy Milligan"
4. "(See You) In A While"
5. "Shame, Same Shame"
6. "The Russian Way"
Side B
7. "Gettin' Jiggy With It"
8. "He Came From The Cold"
9. "Get It Barry!"
10. "Amazingly Useless"
11. "UVB-76"
12. "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"


  1. good to have you back regularly updating sara

    1. Hey thanks so much Mick and it's great to see you still running strong!! It's been hard to come back with everything that's happened in my life this year but music is always by my side :)