New Young Pony Club
The Optimist


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
April 26th, 2010 | 17 replies | 7,968 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deeper & darker than its predecessor, The Optimist is an instinctive step up for NYPC.

With seemingly every Gen X musician and their slutty teenage daughter joining the electro craze of late, it is almost refreshing to see a band take one step off the bandwagon. That is not to say that English quartet New Young Pony Club (NYPC) has completely abandoned the electronic tendencies showcased on their debut LP ‘Fantastic Playroom’, it is just that follow-up ‘The Optimist’ predominantly ditches the slick nu-rave meets disco sound, and opts for a decidedly darker vibe that has developed naturally.

Early indications strongly suggest that this is a step in the right direction, since fantastic opener ‘Lost A Girl’ near-perfectly combines the bands love of synths with more pronounced live instrumentation. The rhythm section truly shines here, while Tahita Bulmer’s usual deadpan delivery of the relationship confused lyrics adds a suitably nervous energy, to make it excitingly come together as arguably NYPC’s best song yet. Lead single ‘Chaos’ then continues the momentum by adding an infectious element via handclaps and a sing-along chorus, while ‘Dolls’ later revisits the upbeat 1980’s inspired pop of their debut, especially with the addictive keys hook following its one-line chorus.

For the most part however, ‘The Optimist’ displays a deeper and darker edge. On closer ‘Architect of Love’, Bulmer proclaims “This was broken from the start, the blueprint had no art”. This is likely to be in reference to the reported break-up of her multi-year relationship, but could also allude to a perceived superficiality of their previous sound. Intricately layered harmonies weave through the title track and ‘Rapture’, while even the accessible and catchy ‘We Want To’, is essentially a low-ended bass-driven piece. The song-writing has improved second time around, but practically all tracks bar electro-ballad ‘Stone’ are still pop songs at heart. It is therefore a shame that NYPC take the brooding and contemplative nature of some tracks too far, resulting in the likes of ‘Before The Light’ and ‘Oh Cherie’ (both of which stretch out past five minutes) crossing the line into drab and dreary territory, since they feel far too restrained and lack any sense of fun.

Moving against the current trend, New Young Pony Club has been both bold and defiant with the direction they have taken on ‘The Optimist’. Self-produced (by Bulmer & guitarist Andy Spence) and independently released on the band’s own label (The Numbers), it is an album which is unlikely to be as embraced, and make the same impact, as their debut. However, while it is still caught a little in-between moods and is clearly front-loaded, ‘The Optimist’ feels more instinctive than ‘Fantastic Playroom’, and is ultimately a step up because of that.

Recommended Tracks: Lost A Girl, Chaos, We Want To & The Optimist.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am in-between ratings (3 & 3.5) on this one, but opted to be nice due to the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Plus, the first 2 tracks rule!

Willie
Moderator
April 26th 2010



15876 Comments


You sold me with the summary. That description will always catch my attention. What the hell is the first word in the review though?

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Unsure you would like this Trey, but give it a go & see what happens.

Hmm, not sure what happened with the first word. The dangers of copy & paste I guess. Editing now. Thanks for alerting me.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2010



30873 Comments


How did I know that DaveyBoy would like this band?

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Who said I did Deviant? I thought their debut was actually rather average and this album is only just a 3.5. Probably a 6.5 out of 10.

On both of their albums, there are 3-4 tracks that I really like, but the majority is pretty blah.

pdbn
April 28th 2010



130 Comments


Checked it out, not a fan. Thanks for the review though.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2010



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review as expected. i dunno why but i expected to hate this, but i actually enjoyed it quite a bit, a high 3.5 for me

LG
April 28th 2010



3049 Comments


Seriously Davey you need a healthy dose of prog thrown into your mix of shit and awesomes muzik milkshake.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Checked it out, not a fan. Thanks for the review though." Fair enough. You're welcome.

"good review as expected. i dunno why but i expected to hate this, but i actually enjoyed it quite a bit, a high 3.5 for me" Thanks Ali. Our paths are weirdly crossing a lot of late. I'm surprised you're not my musical neigbor. I came into this album with rather low expectations as I thought their debut was hit & miss, and didn't think a darker sound would suit them. But the latter opinion was totally wrong as it really feels more natural.

"Seriously Davey you need a healthy dose of prog thrown into your mix of shit and awesomes muzik milkshake. " No I don't LG... It's likely to put me to sleep. I'm afraid to click on that YouTube link you left me.


Willie
Moderator
April 28th 2010



15876 Comments


Some of the newer prog might be your thing. Have you heard In Absentia by Porcupine Tree or Second Life Syndrome by Riverside (although the last two albums are much more instant).

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nope. One day I may look into it, but I really doubt my ability to listen to too much of that kind of thing. I did watch a Dream Theater DVD once & found parts of it really cool.

Trey, what happened to the fistupyerbutt?

Willie
Moderator
April 28th 2010



15876 Comments


Don't judge progressive metal by Dream Theater. I know how you are about checking things out (Lene Marlin, cough cough) but I'm going to throw this out there anyway: Porcupine Tree - In Absentia and Fates Warning - Parallels.

The fisterbut part was borderline as staff and a bit over the line as mod.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe one day. I'll get to Lene first... & soon.

Now I feel inferior as just staff.

Willie
Moderator
April 28th 2010



15876 Comments


ha ha, don't worry, they only did it to stop me from reviewing so damn much - it didn't work ;)

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

LOL. Too true... I still haven't caught you in number of reviews.

Willie
Moderator
April 28th 2010



15876 Comments


You'll catch me by the end of May, I'm sure. I ended up with three reviews this week, so that kind of had me lurch ahead a little.

Edit: It's been a slow week, you should bust out another new release.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Right on queue. Just finishing up another review as we speak... Although I may not post it until tomorrow. It's not a brand new release either (released last month), so don't bother featuring it.



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