Ponyoak, The Best Indie Rock Album

Michael Mansour, Reporter

Most indie bands sound too similar so I rarely listen to them as much as I used to, but Kleenex Girl Wonder strays far from the generic indie rock band while still fitting into the genre. Kleenex Girl Wonder started in the suburbs of Chicago but the band is now based in New York City. Graham Smith founded the band and is the one who gave them their specific sound. He used to be the sole member of KGW but over the years Adam Blake (guitar), Rafeeq Hasan (bass), Quin Goodwillie (guitar), and Jeff Giba (drums) joined the band.
Ponyoak is my personal favorite album by KGW. It is a 25-song masterpiece that does not include a bad song in the bunch. Graham Smith made the album in his dorm his freshman year of college back in 1998 when he was just 18. In an interview with BreakThru Radio, he says that during this time of his life he was facing his heartbreaks while drinking and recording this album hence him pouring out his emotions with no holding back. Smith recalls “slamming a cold Foster’s, recording the vocals for five guitars, and then going and vomiting it up.”
One of the most impressive facts about Ponyoak is that all the credits of the 25 song album go to Smith. There were no other contributors besides some features he used. Ponyoak, is a lo-fi pop record about Smith’s love and heartbreaks in high school. He’s a young musician with a severe case of heartbreak and a witty, infectious, writing style. What makes the album shine more than anything is its production. There are beautifully distorted guitars, rhythmically hypnotic drums, and the vocals ooze the pain of a highschool heartbreak. The lyrics on Now, I Got a Feeling are written in a sort of passive aggressive tone that is also filled with love such as “And don’t put romance and emotion above me /It’s hard to resist when you’re lookin’ so lovely” and “But don’t you put anger and envy below me /As much as you know me, you don’t really know me”.
There is a clear relation to Guided By Voices (an American indie rock band formed in 1983) when listening to the album but Ponyoak is catchier, more amusing, and much younger. If you want to go listen to the album you can stream it on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube. Hope you all have a great listen. Try listening to the first 9 songs all the way through, they are the best of the album, to at least give KGW a try.