Ass Ponys

Safe House/OKRA, 1992

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


On their second album, Ohio’s Ass Ponys unleashed, in this writer’s opinion, the strongest set of songs they would ever release. Teaming up again with Afghan Whigs’ bassist John Curley as producer, on this effort the band had a bit more experience under their belt and their musical chops have improved quite a bit as a result. Chuck Cleaver’s voice and songwriting and the musicianship of John Erhardt, Randy Cheek, and Dave Morrison help to push them over the edge; too bad the rest of the world didn’t stand up and take notice.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I mean, how bad can the world be if songs like “It’s Not Happening” and “No Dope No Cigarettes” exist to lift the listener out of whatever existential crisis they find themselves in and allow the sunshine to come through. At the same time, the songwriting heads a bit into the darker side with songs like “Not Since Superman Died,” “I Love Bob,” and my personal favorite “Julia Pastrana,” a tale of a hideous sideshow freak who died during childbirth and how her husband went insane touring with her mummified corpse. You’ll never see Fall Out Boy writing stuff like this! This is just one of the many great things about alternative rock in the ‘90s: dark, dark songwriting that wasn’t all about suicide and depression.

The record was released through two small indies and never really found a place, but the band was able to land a deal with A&M and released two records there. Those albums are good, but they didn’t have a song with the power of “The Big E,” a song about a boy setting fires that get out of control featuring great songwriting and musicianship all around.

This release is worth the price of admission alone. If you aren’t familiar with this record, do whatever you can to track down a copy.

Rating: A

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