Genre classification is a very tricky thing in music – with a seemingly endless supply of genres and subgenres available to help mold our interpretations of albums and singles, it’s no wonder so many bands resist being pigeonholed into such narrow categories. Enter Ponderosa. This Atlanta-based band managed to pack a few surprises for fans and critics alike into their sophomore album Pool Party, released yesterday (July 31). Full of omnipresent guitar riffs complemented by consistent drum beats reassuring the band from behind, each track maps out a new facet of Ponderosa’s ever-evolving sound, coaxing listeners along a wandering journey through the peaks and valleys of some otherworldly sonic landscape. The album is wonderfully produced with intricate layering techniques that give each song depth and the strong sense that this project was not simply thrown together. Still, it is a strange shift for a band that debuted in 2011 with an album that was Southern rock to the core.
At the very least, Ponderosa’s transformation is fascinating. Pool Party is fresh out of the gate and Ponderosa already has listeners on their toes, anxious to discover which direction the band will take next. Will their next release sound like the upbeat rock gem “Devil on My Shoulder” from their first album Moonlight Revival? Or will it be more in line with “Pool Party,” the sweeping title track of today’s follow-up album? Only time will tell. Until then, Pool Party is available through iTunes, with the first single “Navajo” currently posted as iTunes’ free Single of the Week.