Vroom Pony is a New York-based duo made up of longtime best friends Miguel Horowitz and Andrew Zizik. The two began collaborating musically in Boston around 2009, and their first band Baby Brainwaves released their self-titled record Brainwaves in 2010. They toured the east coast extensively with notable bands such as Beach Fossils, Prince Rama, Quilt and Pretty & Nice. The two later disbanded – Zizik to pursue a career in audio engineering, Horowitz remaining in Boston to finish art school. For the next few years the duo continued to collaborate remotely, periodically producing songs when opportunities arose. In the spring of 2017, with Horowitz having moved to Brooklyn, the two began working together more on a new musical project, thus the birth of Vroom Pony. Embracing their similar musical tastes, they delved into mostly improvised projects that would eventually materialize into complete songs. As far as Vroom Party’s style and sound – think Brian Wilson’s harmonies over hip-hop-infused beats with the added color and texture of Todd Rundgren and Panda Bear. Wow – quite a mix!
Their first full length album Awkward Horrors, of which the album cover was created by Boston-based artist Jordan Piantedosi, is a multicolored and multi-genre cacophony inspired by the likes of Cambodian psychedelic bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s, George Duke, Kevin Parker, Wu Tang Clan, Dr. Dre, video game soundtracks, karaoke bars, Arnold Schoenberg and Carly Rae Jepsen. Got all that? – don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz. Almost everything was recorded on laptops around the world using Ableton Live and a dinky cassette recorder. So…those things really are still around! Enjoy.
First off is “Deity” which begins with some bird calls and squawks, and an interesting mix of psych-pop, atmospheric soundscapes and trip-hop stuff. Quite a trip so far. “Pigmas” takes you on another trip with what sounds a little like African children chanting underneath a trippy, electro-psych-pop – um, rhythm? “Unununium” offers a bit more structure – but no less trippy – with some pretty sweet vocal harmonies, too. “Time Mangled” reaches into the band’s bag of chill pop vibes, ambient textures just a bit, with some soulful singing. The drums on this one are warm and sweet, like ‘70s soul funk.
“Hologram” has a psych pop feel, mixed in with heavier beats and structures. Overall, I thought its style was contemporary but with just enough edginess. Perhaps the duo’s most danceable number as well. “God Pill” feels very much like a funky psych number from the ‘70s – did anyone mix those two genres back then? George Clinton anyone? This one also has various twists and turns in a short time. “Drazzler” begins with some crowd noise of some kind, electronica sounds and muffled drums beats. There’s a mix of new wave in here somewhere, and it kind of reminded me of the Gorillaz, too – but only slightly. Overall, I liked this one a lot.
“Bone Face” features layered vocal echoes, catchy beats and a great melody. I liked this one too because it had this “feel good” vibe about it. “Wailea” offers a mix of funky fun and psychedelic exploration, along with some hip-hop like beats. This one reminded me of Daft Punk in a way and it ends on a trippy futuristic note. “Porpoise Purpose” showcases heavy bass-y beats, and another psych-electro-pop style that just may drift you off to sleep with its slow, mesmerizing tempo. Last up is “Bless” and yet again, this New York duo mixes styles of trip-hop, funk, psych and everything in between. Another great number which features trippy electronic vibes, soft guitars and melodies.
Well, Vroom Pony wasn’t fooling when they said their brand of music is a “multicolored, multi-genre cacophony” and whatever Cambodian psychedelic bands sound like. I couldn’t have described it better myself. A feast for the ears? – yes, and without a doubt, one of the most intriguing albums I’ve listened to in a long time.
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