Concert preview: Pontiak lets it rips on the deceptively titled Innocence

  • Photo courtesy Pontiak
From the February 20, 2014 edition

The three brothers in Virginia-based Pontiak — Jennings, Van and Lain Carney — come barreling out of the gate like a rodeo bull on their most recent album, Innocence. “Wasted!” the band howls amidst the corrosive blues-rock scrawl of the opening track. One song later they’re singing, “We drank too much,” as buzzing guitars and drums trade paint like two autos engaged in a high-speed freeway chase.

The buzz doesn’t last — and, really, how could it? — but even the assorted bruising ballads that litter the record’s comparatively tame mid-section offer some memorable moments. The best of these might be “Noble Heads,” a subdued slow-burner where the narrator parts ways with a lover and sets off on his lonesome. Fortunately this sense of solitude doesn’t last, and the crew reforms for rumbling closer “We’ve Got It Wrong,” a bluesy number built on a deceptively simple, crushing riff. Watch your toes.

Old Baby and Brujas del Sol open the show.