Album Reviews

New Young Pony Club – Fantastic Playroom

(Modular) UK release date: 9 July 2007


Forget New Rave. New Young Pony Club have just started New Disco. Fantastic Playroom makes no bones about exactly what the band want to achieve. These songs are all solid pop nuggets, dripping in innuendo, squelchy bass and danceable rhythms.

Having already made something of an impression with earlier singles Ice Cream (you’re probably familiar with this via the Intel adverts) and The Bomb, surely the only way is up for a band already being heralded in trendy circles as the next big thing.

There’s every chance that NYPC will be one of the bands that are on everyone’s lips this year. After the considerable success of CSS and the sudden (and frankly surprising considering their back catalogue) rise of The Gossip the stage is set for another band with an ear for a dance tune to make a name for themselves.

Opening up the album with Get Lucky with its choppy guitar riff and eminently danceable beats things get off to a good start. Tahita Bulmer’s vocals are detached but strangely engaging. She hardly sounds interested in a word she’s singing as she drawls like a pervy female version of Dylan; – if Dylan had been more interested in Glo-Sticks and cutting a rug. Yet when she sings “I’m gonna give you all my love” you have to sit up and take notice.

The samba like rhythms of Hiding On The Staircase are instantly infectious while constantly niggling at the back of your mind that you’re sure you’ve heard this before on Luscious Jacksons‘ Natural Ingredients. Not that this is a bad thing in the slightest, in fact it is a very good thing indeed.

Next up Ice Cream hits all the right buttons with its unbearably funky bass, minimal arrangement and filthy lyrics. When was the last time you heard a band imploring you to “Dip your dipper”? I’ll tell you when. Did Frankie Howerd ever release a single? If he did, it was probably then.

The Bomb and The Jerk both sound like they could have been found in an archaeological dig that only goes down as far as the first floor of an ’80s Our Price. Not that they’re entirely derivative, there’s definite hints of Indie moxie in alongside the Gary Numan keyboards and that is just enough to save them from having feet of clay.

If there’s a criticism to be levelled at Fantastic Playroom it’s that at times it can seem a little bit uninspired and similar across the whole album. As singles, most of these songs would fly off of the shelves, but taken as a whole album it can get a bit tiring. Bulmer’s vocal style does nothing to alleviate the problem, and although she occasionally sounds like B52’s Kate Pierson (on Grey in particular), more commonly she can be found lurking around the beat sounding a little bit bored.

In addition I can’t get the fact that many of these tracks sound exactly like Le Tigre but stripped of much of the joy and polemic that made Le Tigre’s Disco Punk so exciting.

These tiny niggles aside New Young Pony Club will undoubtedly make the jump to mass popularity. This summer, Disco doesn’t suck, it is most certainly in, so don’t forget to dip your dippers.


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More on New Young Pony Club
NYPC – NYPC
New Young Pony Club – The Optimist
New Young Pony Club + Foals @ Plug, Sheffield
Interview: New Young Pony Club
New Young Pony Club – Fantastic Playroom


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