I was given a fine piece of advice once: when critiquing anybody’s work, strike with the bad and use a handful of praise to clean up the mess. The problem with critiquing Pony Up’s 2006 release Make Love to the Judges With Your Eyes, is that the sweeping can’t be done with just a handful of praise – it requires a smidge more. The Montreal quartet was young when the album was released, and their naivety is as apparent as their unwavering theme of lo-fi mediocrity.

Their lyrics are choked with boy problems and teen angst, as if excerpted from the inside covers of their junior high Hilroys. Their piano riffs are as quick and simple as their drum rolls, and passing off twenty seconds of ‘ooo’s’ and ‘ahh’s’ as actual lyrics in more than one song, is generally unacceptable.

I am not completely pessimistic about this release, though. “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” was, and still is, a pretty slick single. And the albums enders, electro-rock “Make, Model, #” and haunting “Lines Bleed” are well worth a second listen. It’s a shame, though, because the majority of people who’ve listened to the album probably never made it that far in.

If I were still in grade school buying the latest Lipsmacker flavour, finding solace in amateurish charm, I’d dig the album. The band even admits that ‘this is appealing in someone so young.’ And the statement is true. It has just enough pop-rock zest to hold your attention and, with anything, the contents will probably just get riper with age.

Track Listing:

01. Dance For Me – 4:32
02. The Truth About Cats and Dogs (Is That They Die) – 3:51
03. Possible Harm – 4:56
04. The Best Offence – 4:28
05. Only Feelgood – 4::44
06. What’s Free Is Yours – 3:37
07. Ships – 3:40
08. The First Waltz – 4:42
09. Pastime Endeavour – 4:07
10. Make, Model, # – 3:22
11. Lines Bleed – 5:13

Run Time: 47:00
Release Date: May 9, 2006

Check out the song: “The Truth About Cats and Dogs (Is That They Die)”