This Chicago-based foursome bring garage rock to life much the way the White Stripes did on their early albums. Like the Stripes, the Ponys employ raw guitars, in-your-face vocals, and simple but effective riffs. Singer/guitarist Jered Gummere and bassist Melissa Elias (now married) formed the band in late 2000 with guitarist Ian Adams (later replaced by Brian Case) and drummer Nathan Jerde. They quickly attracted attention from LA-based punk label In the Red and released two albums before signing to Matador. You can tell they had a bigger budget and more studio time for Turn the Lights Out: it’s more polished and sonically ambitious. But it’s not a major departure. The thunderous opener, “Double Vision,” builds momentum until the screeching guitar distortion pushes it close to total chaos. The dark, brooding, more tightly composed “Harakiri” and the title track, with its retro Farfisa and collective shouts of “Every now and then I get a little help from my family and friends,” keep the energy level high even as they make way for better hooks and melodies.
The Ponys + Black Lips + Turpentine Brothers | T.T. the Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge | March 27 | 617.492.BEAR