One of the first great rock records of 2012 has landed in the form of Pontiak’s latest, Echo Ono. The nine tracks that make up this record have only one purpose: to take you on a room-shaking, mind-altering, jaw-dropping trip to anywhere but here. Echo Ono is a magical mystery tour for heavy psychedelic rock fans, a road trip record like you’ve never experienced.
It’s clear from the first moments of Echo Ono that Pontiak have tapped into the essence of pure rock. The blistering guitar heat of the opening track, “Lions of Least,” coupled with the rumbling, tumbling thunder of the bass and drums makes this one of the best opening tracks of all time. “The North Coast” and “Left With Lights” continue to pummel the listener with potent, precise riffs that succeed in being heavy and thick but never verge into sloppy or harsh.
“The Expanding Sky,” “Stay Out, What A Sight,” and “Silver Shadow” make up a quieter middle of the record, allowing for a satisfying breather from the non-stop assault of the first four songs. These three middle tracks are more closely related to the quieter moments of Pontiak’s fantastic EP from 2011, Comecrudos. “Royal Colors” and “Panoptica” close out the album with a more plodding, droning dose of heavy. These are heavy psychedelic anthems that absorb you and pull you out of your current time and space to take you on a journey that only Pontiak can lead. If “Lions of Least” is a perfect opening track, there’s a strong case to be made for “Panoptica” being a perfect closing track. This lengthy instrumental demonstrates the insane power of Pontiak’s music. It’s awe-inspiring, sometimes brutal, but always has a delicate thread running through its core.
Echo Ono accomplishes the rare feat of actually transporting you to a different place. These songs are the power, attitude, and adventurous spirit that propel you on that journey. Pontiak isn’t the kind of band that messes around. Their music is created with purpose and executed with a kind of surgical precision rarely heard on a heavy rock record. For my money, Echo Ono is as close to a perfect rock moment as you’ll find.
Purchase Echo Ono via Thrill Jockey