Monday, May 23, 2005
Singer/songwriter Justin Ripley is the brains and shaggy hair behind The Pomonas, a new local outfit that also includes brother Brandon Ripley, Ryan Laird (also of Chemical Ali), and Andy Gassaway - a quartet of multi-instrumentalists.
The band's six-song EP was conceived at Underground Sounds, the local studio of Conner guitarist/engineer Tom Wagner. The vintage tube-and-tape studio offers a no-frills documentation of the band's fractured pop sensibilities (RIYL: The Thermals, The Rosebuds, Pavement, Guided By Voices).
Ripley's songs paint narrative pictures of better and/or more bizarre worlds. "Two Seat Cessna" reveals his latent desire to die in a plane crash, while "Slacker in the Service Industry" explores the conflicts of art and commerce: "I picked this job 'cause it's easy / And it gives me the time off I want ... I'll be fine / 'Cause I'm working on my screenplay."
The refreshing thing about The Pomonas is that they're a garage band in the truest sense of the term - doing their own thing regardless of the outside world. The material on the band's self-titled EP isn't groundbreaking nor entirely ambitious, but it's true to itself. Same goes for Ripley's distinctive voice, which - for better or worse - doesn't shy from trying to outstretch its range.
While The Pomonas may have some work to do before they can truly lay claim to "the Midwest's most majestically gritty power pop," this debut EP is certainly an indication of more good things to come.