Albums of 2008: Day 22 – Pontiak – Sun on Sun

I actually received this album in the mail in 2007, but it was re-released this year on Thrill Jockey. Like I do, this all-brother trio hails from the farm country of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Thus I automatically have a soft spot, but these guys kill regardless.

Like the Blue Ridge, Pontiak’s sound is massive, solid and deeply rooted but also rolling, colorful and organic. Sometimes they plod up hill, chugging along like the coal trains that pass by my house. At other times they barrel down the mountain like the big rigs flying on I-64.

The record’s buildup to “White Hands” is superb, bringing forth a satisfying climax of vocal hooks and aerial guitar. Yesterday my mom was telling me about driving across the mountain to the Shenandoah. The fog was thick until she reached the top, but when she did, suddenly the sun emerged and she could see clouds and frozen treetops below. “White Hands” is the musical equivalent of such a moment.

And, since I love Julian Cope’s writing, I’m going to conclude this post by quoting his thoughts on the album:

“I’ve also been vibing on SUN ON SUN by three-piece post-stoner nutters Pontiak, whose ominous, portentous music straddles a wide sonic rift valley, with references that stretch from the southern latitudes of Spain’s Viaje A800 to the northern majesty of Black Sabbath and Harvey Milk via the Doors. …Pontiak are either space aliens or Mormons (what’s the diff?), which is probably why their music sounds as though it were filtered through deep space.”

After the break, the video for “White Hands.”

Leave a Reply