[31 August 2006]
Camille and Alexander McGregor are like the city neighbors I fantasized about having when I was growing up a rural/suburban kid. I would hear them spinning Edith Piaf, Miles Davis, and Dave Van Ronk through thin tenement walls, and sometimes they would invite me in to sip wine and flip through their collection while they cooked something healthy and delicious. Their fabric-softener-light-and-breezy Ponies in the Surf project has built impressively upon previous efforts with Ponies on Fire, as fully realized an album as you’re allowed to expect from a band that twitters from song to song like a happy bumblebee. Cross-pollinating nursery rhyme folk with Euro-pop, gospel with television jingles, this charmingly handmade record is a treasure for home-recording aficionados, regardless of where the songs were laid down. The odd, pulsing pop of “Gov’t Brand #2” and Mediterranean jazz of “Too Many Birds” maintain an unmistakable home-cooked flavor, designed to be shared with friends.