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Pony Face continuously defy definition. In their short career the band have released an EP and two blissful, brooding albums; the second, Hypnotised, propelling them to the national stage in support of luminaries such as Paul Kelly, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ronaldo, Washington and Dean & Britta amongst others. And that there is the paradox of Pony Face; a band that is equally at home in the annals of indie rock and shoegaze as they are country and folk music, drone, psychedelia and other kaleidoscopic noise merchantry.
To the uninitiated Pony Face can appear unconventional, though on further unravelling of their songs and sonic textures draw links between the crystalline intimacy of Sparklehorse, the dark rock noir of Rowland S. Howard and the uniquely Australian feel of Dirty Three. So who better to take on Bruce Springsteen’s bleak and affected 1982 Tascam-recorded demo album Nebraska?
Pony Face were initially commissioned to perform Nebraska live as part of (former) St. Kilda institution Pure Pop Records’ classic album series (and the first show of the series to sell out the modest courtyard). Not content with exploring these stories of submission, annihilation and the light in the cracks in a one-off, three-piece show, they enlisted the help of some friends and collaborators to further traverse the sonic backroads and byways the songs drove them down. Enter Matt Walker, Biddy Connor, Jaye Kranz (Brighter Later), Shane O’Mara, Liz Stringer, Ladie Dee (Howl At The Moon) and Damian Fitzgerald; a heartworn cast to tease out the untold confessions of the Sheriff, Maria, Frankie, Ralph, Chicken Man and the State Trooper.
Long time collaborator, producer Casey Rice (Tortoise, The Dirty Three), was brought on board to co-produce the album, which was pieced together over six months in bedrooms and studios across Melbourne.
Pony Face’s Nebraska is a calculated, meditative reimagining of Springsteen’s towering masterpiece, taking the record down a path the E Street Band wouldn’t, couldn’t have travelled. Stevie Van Zandt, when urging Springsteen to release Nebraska as is, surmised that “the fact that you didn't intend to release it makes it the most intimate record you'll ever do. This is an absolutely legitimate piece of art."
Now, with thirty two years of contemplation of that statement, Pony Face present Nebraska.