Ponies EP – Anthony Reynolds: review

Anthony Reynolds - Ponies EP‘A grandstanding return from one of our most under-rated crooners’ 8/10

John Earls, Channel 4 Launchpad. 1/2/2007

This is the debut solo release under Anthony Reynolds’ real name. He has released solo material before under the name of Jacques, which was the solo project that he used to run in conjunction with his then main band, the wonderful Jack, whose first album from 1996, ‘Pioneer Soundtracks’, is getting a double CD remaster next month. Released on lovely 7” vinyl in a very beautiful sleeve, ‘Ponies’ plays at 33rpm and consists of two original tracks and a cover version.

‘I Know You Know’, the main track, has a more beatnik sound than that of Jack, but, like Anthony’s former group, who broke up in 2002, is influenced by Scott Walker in the finest order and has a lush backing that even Tindersticks would admire.

‘A Blue Flame’ the first of two tracks on the B side, is another original, and bears an even closer resemblance to Jack. It has lots of very sad violin, a sorrowful vocal and is full of the night’s loneliness. It is absolute genius.

‘Railroad Bill’ is a cover of a traditional song, and sounds like a demo. It consists of minimal vocals and has an acoustic guitar to assist. It shows that this Welsh chap has lost nothing in moving away from London. It is good to have him back.

Anthony Strutt, Pennyblack Magazine. 2007.

With fairly mersh expectations, this pretty excellent singer-songwriter fare that brings a little bit of lush mystery to the sort of adult male British singer-songwriter realm. Earnest and wrapped in satin, well-orchestrated (strings, hand percussion and piano fill out the space), the combination rises to a boil on the first track, “I Know You Know,” evoking a softened yet familiar regard to the last few years of guitar-based rock, beneath a classy, adult-contempo studio finish. Reynolds really sells this vibe, with poignant lyrics that almost dominate any character he might exhibit, but in this capacity, it works in his advantage. Hey, not everything we get in here is a punk, garage, or noise record, and that’s cool – this music is pretty honorable about its intent, and has enough charm and resolve to succeed.

Doug Mosurak, Dusted Magazine. 2007.

2007 is set to be an ambitious year for Welsh singer/songwriter Anthony Reynolds. In a month’s time, Reynolds will see the elegant re-issue of Jack’s 1996 debut Pioneer Soundtracks, complete with new artwork and an extra CD full of b-sides and exclusive tracks.

Also in the works is his first official solo album under his full name, titled British Ballads. And in addition to all of this, he is also working on a musical project with reknowned author Colin Wilson. So prolific is one word that fits Reynolds like a glove, as he is always recording, creating, and writing. And this brings us to the recording at hand. This nifty little Ponies EP is limited to only 500 copies (7″ vinyl only), so loyal Reynolds fans should not procrastinate.

If you are uneducated in all things Reynolds, let me bring you up to speed. Anthony Reynolds is an ever-evolving musician. His vocals are like melted butter (think Scott Walker meets M. Ward meets Jarvis Cocker), and his instrumentation can range from lavish to lo-fi…but it’s always affective. It’s lazy to shrug off an artist by pointing to their influences, so while Reynolds is inspired by the greats of pre-modern pop, he is an artist worthy of being compared to himself.

I think great artists/musicians can be measured by their own high standards, and with at least 10 albums/EP’s to his credit, Reynolds has certainly earned it. Of the three songs on Ponies EP, “I Know You Know” is the highlight. While very straightforward in structure and arrangement, I think this is the most powerfully emotive song Reynolds has ever graced. His vocal is magnificently warm, and the orchestral score could easily blend into A Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night-era Harry Nilsson.

The more lyrically mischievous “A Blue Flame” follows the same beautiful pattern. This is a comfortable and inviting Reynolds casually charming you with his grace. Only a handful of musicians can deliver with this kind of ease and brash confidence. Pulp would have loved to claimed this song in their output, as it blends sensuality with luxurious pomp.

The final track, “Railroad Bill”, is a traditional folk song, and Reynolds doesn’t transform it as much as he embodies it. Note for note, this little gem stands up well beside every other Reynolds work. These three songs clearly illustrate the uncanny and nearly unmatched talent of Anthony Reynolds. It looks like it’s going to be a fine year for music across the pond!

The Black And White Magazine. 2007.