Second helpings

I was asked to come up with a piece about a band whose second album was better than the first for Getintothis.  I didn’t make the cut but I came up with this…

Tired Pony could well be described as a Gary Lightbody vanity project. However, step away from the fact that this band is part Snow Patrol and part REM and the first long player is something to be reckoned with. Now, I’ve never really been a particularly big Snow Patrol fan, a piece of information I drunkenly shared with Gary Lightbody at a friends and family listening party for the last Snow Patrol album at a studio in Belfast. In fairness he took it rather well, it’s probably not the first time he’s heard it, it was helped by the fact that I liked what I was hearing. As an aside, I’m quite looking forward to the next Snow Patrol record, I’m curious to hear what it sounds like when you put Tired Pony, Nathan Connollys noisy Little Matador and the last Snow Patrol record together in a room.

Don’t judge.

The first Tired Pony record is essentially Gary’s long anticipated country album that wasn’t as country as he hoped it would be. The Place We Ran From is a gentle, sweet record with twangs and steel in all the right places, I can say from experience it is designed for long train journeys, the clickity clack seems to fit well. With guest spots from Tom Smith, Richard Coburn, Iain Archer, Matthew M Ward and one Peter Buck it’s hard to challenge its musical kudos. Add in some sultry vocals by Zooey Deschanel and it soars in places.

The Place We Ran From.

With life being what it is I hadn’t really had the space to spend a great deal of time with it and to be honest it wasn’t something that bothered me then. With a friend on vocal duties for the second album, The Ghost Of The Mountain, I was dragged back to it. I was given a copy of the second record early on and made a more concerted effort to get my ears around it and the first. The parallels and the differences were stark.

The Ghost of The Mountain is a very different record and one that made Tired Pony sound more like a band, less like a project. With fewer guest spots it has a more convincing sound,, it sounds like a band that has found its feet, comfortable in their skin. In a way the second brought me back to the first, I heard anew the depth of the first, those guest spots work beautifully, especially in the case of Tom Smith who delivers a haunting vocal on The Good Book. Similarly, with Iain Archer, the vocal changes everything, warts and all.

Ghost of the Mountain.

But still, The Ghost of The Mountain has something else. There’s a tale or two about loss, time and travel, for me it is a better record than the first and one that catches the imagination. Bronagh Gallagher’s vocal on I’m Begging You Not To Go is dripping with soul, All Things At Once sways beautifully, Ravens and Wolves is bursting with energy and intent. It’s a record that surpasses the first on many levels and is well worth a listen.

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The full Getintothis post is here


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