It wasn't long after the release of their 2011 debut album Moonlight Revival that the Atlanta-based Ponderosa decided to make a dramatic stylistic shift. Their traditional Southern rock stew, rich with gritty country-tinged twang, "y'all" drawl and requisite guitar fireworks was pretty much tossed in favor of a more adventurous, psychedelica-meets-retro-rock turn replete with heavily reverbed vocal harmonies and an atmosphere that's more about mind-expanding substances and Brit Invasion pop melodies and less about a shot of Jack Daniels and roadhouse boogie. The instigator -- and collaborative producer -- behind much of the metamorphosis in Ponderosa rather stunning u-turn is Dave Fridmann, the studio wiz who's plied his craft with MGMT and Flaming Lips. Perhaps it was simply Fridmann letting the band evolve in an "anything goes" creative space to stretch into what they really wanted to do anyway. But whatever they put in the water, Pool Party (July 31, New West) is an out and out blast. For starters, check out the chiming guitars, blissed-out harmonies and killer hooks of the glorious "Navajo".
Ponderosa - "Navajo" (from Pool Party)
Ponderosa - "Black Hill Smoke" (from Pool Party)