Though their choice of band name is pretty absurd, this synth-pop trio from Angers (that’s in France, geography buffs) follows in the footsteps of their electronic predecessors, unleashing power-pop, manly falsettos, and charming accents. Their debut album, “You Need Pony Pony Run Run,” is the equivalent of a drive down the Champs Elysées in the springtime: a fresh gust of air, the aroma of nature reawakening, riding in a convertible with the top down, people walking the streets, the sun beaming down. “Pony Pony Run Run” unleash the emotional power of a young couple in love through a healthy appreciation of ’80s British pop, a French disco twinge, and an American sensibility.
The original fivesome was formed in Nantes, France in 2003. Last year, two of the band members skedaddled, leaving brothers Gaëtan (guitar, vocals) and Amaël Réchin Lê Ky-Huong (bass), and friend Antonin Pierre (synths), or as they like to refer to themselves, “G,” “A,” and “T.” The threesome has released one album and two singles. They’ve achieved modest success in Francophone Europe but have yet to conquer American soil.
Several clues point to a desire to reach out to America in their music: all of “G’s” lyrics are in English despite his obvious accent; the subject matter has the depth of a Mandy Moore film; and “G” loves using clichéd Americanisms and fudging up his grammar. But hey, if grammar counted for anything, Kanye West would be homeless right now. By the band’s estimates, their influences are “80 to 90 percent Anglo-Saxon,” and by all accounts, their music has the potential to be more appealing to Brits and Yanks than to the French.
It’s almost fitting that the three major acts they’ve supported are Calvin Harris, Katy Perry, and Simple Minds…electro-funk, pop, and ’80s one-hit wonder: all are audible in Pony Pony Run Run’s sound. Their debut, “You Need Pony Pony Run Run,” spans a spectrum of moods. Two music videos have been released for the singles “Hey You” and “Walking On A Line,” the former a warm, summer romance and the latter an ephemeral love story. “Love Veritable” evokes the sunglasses and slicked back hair of cool guys from the ’80s, the curiously titled “First Date Mullet” has the pulsating and driving electronic rock that would be right at home on a Bloc Party record, and “Show Me Show Me” is the perfect example of the light, infectious pop that makes this record such a carefree listen.
Pony Pony Run Run follows a well-known musical formula, but they shouldn’t be penalized for replicating and building upon a familiar sound. That’s why they are more than just another French-pop drone: they have that feel-good vibe that doesn’t wear off quickly. Look for a smarter, sleeker, and more eclectic follow-up album from Pony Pony Run Run. The instrumentals can only improve, as will G’s grasp of the English language (and his ability to express more complex lyrical themes). Expect big things from these guys.