Review ·

Pontiak demands a great deal of commitment and patience from both fans and casual listeners alike by releasing Comecrudos in its current form. The EP, which stretches four parts across 25 minutes seems frustratingly stunted, a great idea that wasn't fleshed out to its fullest potential. Of those 25 minutes, about two thirds of them are spent in an instrumental wilderness, and not a varying one at that. Comecrudos could have easily been the full-length follow up to 2010's Living had the Carney brothers (Van, Jennings and Lain) hunkered down and put together some more material for it, which I realize sounds like a completely ridiculous complaint, but once again highlights Comecrudos' main problem: For a band as prolific as Pontiak (dropping five releases in a furious two year span, for example), this EP comes off as withholding. And not in a good way.

The central concept of Comecrudos concerns a road trip the Carney brothers took through Arizona and Texas that also included camping and some side adventures in the natural expanse. The vast landscapes they encountered are conveyed effectively in "Part I," with its single-note drone and occasional horns, which bring to mind winds softly blowing through the dry heat. "Part II" acts as a travelogue of sorts, with Van simply listing off comments about the desert, clouds and birds over a bed of acoustic guitars and spare, Morricone-esque electric guitar plucks. The lyrical content gets a little more abstract during "Part III," which brings back the bleating horns and drone of "Part I," but allows Jennings to lay down some melodic direction with his bass. "Part IV" acts as the epilogue, allowing the listener to picture the Carneys driving off into the distance, as a pulsating organ warmly plays a few chords repeatedly.

In terms of formulating a coherent concept, establishing a mood, and conveying imagery, Comecrudos is definitely a success. It would have made a great middle section to a full-length, which the band is supposedly already working on for an early 2012 release. As it stands, it's the one time the Carney brothers' songwriting productivity could have been used to much greater advantage.

Pontiak's raw and haunting Comecrudos was created as a road-weary soundtrack for Route 385 southbound from Marathon, Texas. The band of siblings were musically influenced by a camping trip from Phoenix to the Big Bend area of Texas. Pontiak finished recording in January of 2011 at their Virginia studio. No distortion or overdrive pedals were used.

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