The sound of Pontiak is that of dusk-hewn, reverb-smeared guitar and expansive, layered orchestration that far exceeds the inputs from a mere three musicians.
But this sound – robust and raw – defines Pontiak. Recorded in a log cabin north of Charlottesville, Virginia in four short days, Sun on Sun, the sophomore release from brothers Van (guitar, lead vocals), Lain (drums, vocals) and Jennings Carney (bass, organ, vocals), is a youthful barrage that recalls early British metal, albeit steeped with unrestrained exploration. “Shell Skull” lurches forward beneath the weight of a simple, ominous bass groove, dodging fitful, grinding guitar with lock-step determination. Dark repetition fuels the controlled tension of “Swell,” and the cavernous title track breaks through the darkness with the dim glow of otherworldly slide. The brothers further embue a supernatural sense, often spouting verse in three-part harmony.
Pontiak’s controlled, melodic, and innovative approach is a particularly poignant addition to the guitar-rock pantheon. Ignoring shock-value or flash-in-the-pan theatrics, Sun on Sun depicts a band respectfully pulling back the skin of heavy music, before tactfully pushing the genre into the future.
Sun on Sun is out now on Thrill Jockey Records.