Turn the Lights Out–The Ponys 

(Matador)

This four-piece post-punk band has made the leap to indie big deal Matador after two thrilling if generally underappreciated albums on indie lesser deal In the Red. The Ponys' guitar/bass/drums attack isn't radically different from a thousand rock bands before them, but they are doing it better. The group finds solid riffs -- listen to the infectious, bass-driven bounce of "Poser Psychotic" -- and then rides them with unapologetic swagger. There's a sharper focus here than on their last, Celebration Castle, and the addition of a bubbling organ in spots adds unexpected color. You might wish bassist Melissa Elias would sing every once in a while (as she did on Celebration Castle), but the Ponys' visceral kick and shredded guitar whomp is a true modern-rock wonder. ("Poser Psychotic," "Double Vision," "Harakiri") -- Werner Trieschmann

Grade: A

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