Snowpony | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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This British trio has been held up mostly for the past affiliations of its members, but not much on its debut full-length, The Slow-Motion World of Snowpony (Radioactive), harks back to either Katharine Gifford's stint as Stereolab's keyboardist or Debbie Googe's tenure as bassist in My Bloody Valentine. Gifford writes and sings all the group's tunes--she did neither in Stereolab--and the way she, Googe, and drummer Max Corradi (who's since been replaced by Gifford's fellow Moonshake alum Kevin Bass) combine rigid, hypnotic, sample-peppered grooves, huge spirals of bass, and subtle, half-chanted, half-spoken melodies has little in common with Stereolab's stylistic cocktails or MBV's feedback-sopped elegies. In fact, Snowpony's economical mix of pop hooks and noise blasts, rhythmic loops, and programmed beats doubtless has some success-hungry A and R types hoping they'll be the next Garbage. But Gifford, though an inviting presence, lacks Shirley Manson's extroversion, and producer John McEntire eschews sheen in favor of spatial depth, accenting the music's bottom more than its surface and tossing in subtle niceties like the borrowed Brazilian rhythmic accents on "Love Letters." Despite giddy moments like the piercing guitar squalls in "Easy Way Down," Snowpony is probably too dark and understated for the mainstream. Reportedly the live setting brings the group out of its shell a bit. Monday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.


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