XLR8R Rating: 8/10
Pontiak is not your average Thrill Jockey band. The Carney brothers comprise a power trio, and their second LP—recorded live in a small, 12’ by 12’ studio in rural Virginia—is chockfull of hearty guitar rock. There’s no knob-twiddling or jazz percussion to be found here either. And yet, there’s nothing straightforward about their music. Maker jumps confidently between retro-psych (à la Dead Meadow) and sledgehammer riffage (à la Shellac); there are moments of piercing dissonance (“Wax Worship,” “Headless Conference”) and stoner-rock bliss (the epic 13-minute title track). And throughout it all, the Carney boys never back off from the pummeling intensity afforded by these intimate live recordings. Pontiak cuts to the quick.