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The Pondering
No Ordinary Bitch
(6 Mile Records)


I don't know if this is a debut record, or a sophomore effort, or what. What I do know is that this record is very intriguing and makes me want to hear more. The Pondering has released an album that not only lives up to my expectations for a band from South Carolina, but exceeds them in many respects. A visit to the label's website informs me that the Pondering are a ROCKFUNKGROOVE quartet, which is a label that I will not dispute. Reminiscent of a much more consistent Everything, this album is laced with catchy tunes ready to pull you in and demand your attention. Overwhelmingly well produced for a small label, No Ordinary Bitch contains not only great songs, but great sounds. The sweet, swirling sounds of B3-esque organs and the crisp snap of one of the best snare drums I've heard all year, contribute to how great this record is.

"Bitter End" begins the album with 3:08 of the finest funky rock since G. Love's last effort. It's a song that each of us can understand on some level, about mistakes and not being able to forget. "Fall Apart Again" contains all the elements of a radio single, from a catchy, danceable rhythm to the well-presented vocals. " I-I should have known better, I-I didn't read your letter, I-I'm gonna fall apart again." Some real nice B-3 here, too! "Let Me Down" takes the album to the next level, transcending the fun-time funk rock with a more serious song, featuring some fantastic vocal harmonies. The Pondering lays back into the groove a little more lightly with "No Ordinary Bitch," an obvious title for an easily understood song. "All I Need" is probably my favorite. Sporting lyrics like "I'd like to meet you in another life, only to hear the words that you could never say, too much to talk about, we can't forget anything that we have said, that's the way I feel..." and a catchy college rock vibe. "Superfly" is a nice groove song with some fantastic keyboard and bass work. I don't think it lives up to it's namesake, but good on it's own merit. "Without Words" is a nice song with some very nice, mellow saxophone work. This song really showcases the versatility of this band, and fits more into my notion of SC bands. Just under 3 minutes of acoustic strumming and tight production endear "You Weren't There" to my ears, and the lyrics have universal appeal. "Cry" brings everything back up to an almost Stevie Wonder type of groove. Very nice organ and bass work make this song stand out, and the great chorus further distinguishes it. The Stevie vibe continues with "Say That's So," a rhythmically interesting track, including some nice harmonies. "King of Want You" attempts to take me to New Orleans with horns and a zydeco feel, and more than makes up for its simplicity in it's effort to get me there.

The Pondering has collected a group of songs that are easily identified with, and fun to listen to. If you are a fan of well-produced pop songs, without major label glitz, you will like this record. A part of me wishes that I didn't, but I just can't help myself. (HEY! Don't forget to check out www.6milerecords.com for one of the finest websites I've seen this year)

David DeVoe

Track Listing:
1. Bitter End
2. Fall Apart Again
3. Let Me Down (radio edit)
4. No Ordinary Bitch
5. All I Need
6. Superfly
7. Without Words
8. You Weren't There
9. Cry
10. Say That's So
11. King Of Want You
12. Let Me Down (full version)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mike Doughty



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