Volo Volo

Poi Dog Pondering

Columbia Records, 1992


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Ah, the ’90s! Where else in time could a group of eight completely different, eclectic musicians come together and make ersatz hippie music, get signed to a major label, and release three head-scratching records? This disc, Poi Dog Pondering’s last at the major label brass ring, is confusing as all shit. Opening track “Lackluster” features congas, horns, funk bass, and dreamy music that would’ve fit right at home with Edie Brickell and Rusted Root.

This is just some confusing stuff, but if you’re not really into smoking prodigious amounts of dope, playing hacky sack, and wearing anything made of hemp, then this really is not the music for you. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t seem to preaching peace and love, as on “The Hardest Thing,” then you don’t even need to be reading this. Skip ahead onto something better.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Given the amount of producers, studios and extra musicians that went into making this record, you’ve got to wonder how many people at the record company suffered when this disc didn’t sell and went straight to the bargain bin.

“Ta Bouche Est Tabou” is really where the band starts pissing you off. You would think the song would be a bit more exotic, a bit more on the bossa nova, jazzy type vibe, but no, it’s another hippie jam that goes nowhere. It’s the same thing with “I’ve Got My Body,” which goes on far too long and gives the average listener another reason to hit the skip button.

By the halfway point, this writer’s nerves were starting to grate and his mind started going to a place that was not inhabited by a bunch of morons named Poi Dog Pondering. Songs like “Tall” make you long for a heavier band, one that wasn’t trying so hard to reach for those hemp wearers and what money they have at their disposal.

Even when they try to go mega heavy on something like “Blood And Thunder,” they fall on their faces because you can’t believe they even have the collective balls to try something so far out of their realm. Only a band destined to sell to hippies would a record end with two meandering instrumentals that don’t go anywhere and are really only there to get on non-fans’ nerves. Well, chaps, you’ve succeeded at your task! But don’t worry, comrades, this disc was procured for fifty cents at a flea market, so all was not lost….

After this record, the band lost their deal, some members left, and the remaining moved to Chicago and started working as a sort-of dance band. Ultimately, after this fiasco of a record, Poi Dog Pondering is a band that deserve to be left in the dustbin of hippie bands alongside The Samples and Leftover Salmon.

Rating: F

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