Pons’ Creative Chaos

Connor Adams, Staff Writer

Pons’ new album, “Intellect,” is brimming with talent and budding ideas, but ends up being a lesson on the dangers of uncontrolled chaos.

In an interview with the band, band member Jack Parker described the album as “Like Pandora’s Box, the album has seriously messed some people up” he continued to describe the goal of the band, “like the equivalent to getting punched.” 

Sure, it may accomplish these goals, but to what end?

Much of the album is about great ideas with a lack of substance. It feels less like the punch of an adrenaline thrilled brawl and more like being punched by a random person passing by. You still get that extreme rush, but the purpose is unclear and it feels unsatisfactory.

A track like “Dick Dastardly” is a perfect example of the problems with pure chaos. The song starts off with funky basslines and groovy drums that introduce the listener into a hypnotic rhythm of dance, but as the song continues everything goes haywire.

The moment that I finally feel like I’m getting into the music the band rips me away from it and forces me into a three minute long cacophony of noise. I may have liked this at any other point in the album as its own track, but the fact that it is shoved right in the middle of a perfectly fine song ruins the experience.

Even when the song finally returns to Earth, it is a completely different song than before and it also ends far too prematurely. This is a theme throughout the album where ideas are sprinkled across the inside of tracks, but end up being thrown out for the benefit of chaos.

Another song in the track list that ends up with more ideas and less substance is “Golden Han

Izzy Pipa
Izzy Pipa

dshake.” It starts off as psychedelic and magical, but deteriorates into something completely separate from the original sound.

This separation isn’t justified either because the song lacks a sense of progression towards it’s sudden change in style. These different ideas can be connected, but the band does it in a way that lacks the control that is needed to build the bridges between the songs’ different sounds. 

The band cites one of its influences as the genre of “No Wave” and it’s clear to see with “Intellect’s” lack of specific song structure and intentional abrasiveness. Songs like “NO Squid” remind me of bands like Swans with their haunting vocals and commanding lyrics.

Once again, however, the key difference between the genres of “No Wave” and Pons is the dedication to ideas. Pons has the depth and profound nature of their ideas that “No Wave” songs have, but they fail to build upon them or capture the sound in the same way that bands like Swans or Sonic Youth do with their industrial instrumentation.

These bands are also just as chaotic as Pons, but have a sense of control over themselves in the command of their sound and building narrative. Even with that said, Pons doesn’t just outright fail in the field of controlled chaos or with albums goals.

Songs like “Polly’s Hotel” are masterful in their approach of the unnerving while still being absolute bangers. The frantic guitars are reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees and make the listener feel like they are being chased down an endless hallway by some ungodly machination. 

There is also the track “I See My Name In Lights” which captures electronic dance music and puts it into the chaotic world of “Intellect.” It is a perfect example of what Pons should accomplish with their sound by dedicating itself to an idea and taking it to its most extreme.

It’s still chaotic, but it is dedicated to the idea and the feeling it is trying to capture. To be able to capture these ideas there needs to be some control and the band exercises it in these tracks. The songs don’t have to be long either; they just have to engage the listener and be dedicated to the idea.

Other than “Polly’s Hotel” another short track that executes itself perfectly is “Primal Urge.” Sure, it is only a minute and a half long, but it captures the same intensity and mosh pit mayhem that a Bad Brains song would.

“Intellect” is far from perfect, but the clearly immense talent and passion of the band is obvious in every track. Anyone who enjoys the sounds of “No Wave” and experimental music in general will find something to like about “Intellect.” The band’s long-term goals of “general world domination” seem to be an inevitable outcome of their potential.