Army Of Ponch - So Many You Could Never Win (Cover Artwork)

Army Of Ponch

So Many You Could Never Win (2002)

No Idea

I first came across the sounds of Army of Ponch at a little all-punk/hardcore/emo record store in Providence (Contrast Records, if you're in the area, it's a great place). This record was playing over the speakers while I was shopping and it just jumped out at me. I picked it up and... wow. I'm impressed.

The one mention of AoP on this site that I've seen was a show review, in which AoP opened. The reviewer said they were good, but described them as "No Idea Records screamo" which is a classification I really don't see. They do borrow quite a bit from Hot Water Music/Small Brown Bike and the other descendant bands, in vocal styles and even some song progressions, but these are both traits of old emo.

Yes, this is an emo album (I like emo) in the vein of Hoover or Indian Summer's more intense stuff, with a lot of the edge that Small Brown Bike is known for. Ponch has the classic emo dual-guitar dual-vocalist setup, and when used properly, as in track 3, "Foil Monkeys or Bread Monkeys Either One" and track 10 "I Spilled Another Drink In My Mouth", the results are beautiful.

As with any emo record, there is a focus to the progression of the songs, and in many, the progression is in the full-on intensity and explosion of the two guitars crashing in, sometimes making the sweeter-sounding of the two vocalists sound as though the music were collapsing in upon him. It really does achieve the catharsis that it aims for.

Well, most of the time, it does. The first track is all screaming and crashing, with little left to the imagination, and, at first hearing it, was kind of a turn-off. It's certainly not my favorite track, but it holds its own. Track 7, "America's #1 Snackcake", sounds like an Indian Summer cover. I mean it sounds virtually identical to Indian Summer's "Untitled" combined with their "Just Because...".

Minus these few annoyances, I think that Army of Ponch's first record (it's at least their first No Idea record, their website is down at the moment, so I can't check about prior releases) is a serious winner, and if there is seriously the 1992-era emo revival going on that I think there is, AoP is in line to be a headliner.

Oh yeah, all that, and they included a funny nosedrawing under the spot where the CD goes in the case (I don't know if that space has a name). They tell you to go to for your own nosedrawing, but it's not working on my computer. Check it out.

I'd recommend this if you like: Small Brown Bike, Heroin, Indian Summer, Still Life