New Young Pony Club: “Hiding on the Staircase”
The New Young Pony Club are a British band that marry a New Wave/punk aesthetic to dance rhythms — the result is a very successful update of the kind of thing Romeo Void did back in the early ’80s with such songs as “Never Say Never” (aka, “I might like you better if we slept together”), with more sophisticated rhythmic complexity. Primarily it’s the cold, somewhat robotic singing style set against the funky rhythms that feels similar. Add in a touch of Elastica, and it’s a veritable New Wave jambalaya. (“Sure, Dave — whatever!”)
“Hiding on the Staircase” is among my favorite songs on their 2007 debut, the excellent Fantastic Playroom. Despite a very defined style, the New Young Pony Club was able to sufficiently differentiate each song so that there wasn’t really a sense of listening merely to variations on the same song. “Hiding on the Staircase” throws some Fear of Music-era Talking Heads rhythms (think “I Zimbra”) into the mix, for a tight, intense groove, underlying a song that would appear to be about children having to watch their parents repeatedly argue as their marriage falls apart. The detached singing juxtaposed with the emotional subject matter forces the tension into the music, and it delivers — the militaristic funk beat underscores the idea of an emotional battering. But if that sounds too intense to have a good time with, fear not — you can instead just ignore all that and let the groove carry you along. It’s great music to get things done around the house to, if those you live with don’t have a problem with you dancing while cleaning.