Dialectic Of Ignorance by PontiakRelease date: March 24, 2017
Label: Thrill Jockey
The Pontiak brothers may have discovered the joys of beer brewing recently, yet on listening to new album Dialectic Of Ignorance you would swear they had been cultivating peyote. From the opening, reverb laden ‘Easy Does It’ right through to the last proclamations of ‘We’ve Fucked This Up’, Pontiak cast aside the rawness of previous releases for a more stoned out affair.
The joy of this album is in the way the songs simply bleed into each other. The hypnotic bass pulls you along and rarely veers from its path as the band take you further out on the desert road. Sun kissed and blissed out, it’s West Coast psych taken to a natural high. The jams of The Dead mix with the blues of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, claiming its own space amongst the burnt out tribal hippies.
‘Ignorance Makes Me High’ is one such song which worms its way into your mind with its sinewy bass. Melodic stabs of guitar burst out of the monotonously delivered vocals, the reverb echoing in your mind. Before you know it, Pontiak are taken a funk laden drive through ‘Tomorrow Is Forgetting’, a shamanistic anthem for a new generation. They revisit this later with the excellent ‘Herb Is My Next Door Neighbor’ where they almost startle themselves out of the groove they have found themselves in.
There’s a heaviness around this album too, but one built of emotion and feeling rather than riffs. In the past Pontiak have resided within a garage rock tendency of building riff upon riff. Here the guitar is used mainly for colour and texture with the rhythm section providing the requisite heavy sound. It works well, and adds a new path after their last release, Innocence, gave us a short stab of anger. Here the music is resigned to finding ways inwards into the mind rather than out through the body.
Pontiak are at that point where they can pretty much do what they like and their fans will follow. They may be settling into a future of craft ales but it certainly hasn’t harmed their music making. In fact, you could even say it has revitalised them. Innocence has the sound of a full stop now, and with Dialectic Of Ignorance, have opened up some fascinating possibilities. The music is expansive and exploratory, with the way they develop into what amounts to one long jam, is remarkable. It’s an album to play loud, in a wide open space. You won’t need drugs, the narcotic atmosphere is strong enough.