Children of Love
Get Physical Music
he cover to Fuckpony’s debut single depicts the duo as cartoons atop a My Little Pony in the middle of a realistic desert. Moonshine is spilling out of a bottle, both men are dressed like they’re going back to the future, and hearts are floating in front of the pony’s smiling face and behind its shiny ass. The cover to Fuckpony’s debut album, on the other hand, shows a cartoon rave, in which grinning idiots—each with a lazy (crazy?) eye—are enthralled by a DJ who looks exactly the audience. Children of Love’s best moments sound exactly the former, its worst the latter.
“Ride the Pony,” the title track from that debut single is unsurprisingly one of the best tracks that producers Jay Haze and Samim Winiger have to offer here. It’s a tour de force of distended house, its bass is nearly overwhelming, while vocals intone mere clichés until a climactic reach for a higher register. It’s only half a surprise, really. Haze and Winiger have always been exceptional producers of sound, as evidenced by their work for the Contexterrior and Tuning Spork labels. What hasn’t been apparent in that same work before is their ability to actually write songs.
Tracks like “Ride the Pony,” “It’s Only Music,” and “93 @ 4 AM” show that both are more than capable. The latter even has a stunning climax in which the bass drum makes a (few) triumphant return(s). Unlike their previous work, the changes that occur are not so minimal as to be barely noticed or so garish as to be awkward. These are tracks that follow natural paths using unnatural elements.
Sure, like most house music, Pony claim and command: “It’s only music,” “I was on Mars,” “Move your body like you just don’t care,” “Let the beat take full control.” And they also plead, “I got to get inside ya” goes the slower bomp of “Cell Phone Hit” and the mindlessly repeated “Children of Love” gets its title run into the a slippery and wavery ground of its dub house backing. But its in the those shifting backgrounds that Children of Love is made.
“Get Pony,” like many other songs here, sounds as if the two producers wrote separate drum tracks and simply pasted them into the final product. “It’s Only Music” billowing melody flows like smoke up a chimney, getting more diffuse as it climbs upward.
But in the last quarter of the record, all of the goodwill that the duo engenders begins to unravel: the grinning idiots are in full effect on “Make Money Hoe.” Its beat has the same sort of insistence that the words might have coming from a pimp—but its effect wears off after each subsequent slap, eventually becoming a tired refrain. The same goes for “Bongo Porn,” whose only unique feature is its unrepentant panning. Speed it up and play it at 93 @ 4 AM, though? You might have more than bongo porn on your hands.
As a chance for Jay Haze and Samim Winiger to fulfill on the hype afforded them by a relatively paltry track record as solo artists, Children of Love is a smashing success. Just be sure to get out of there before the idiots take over. Apparently it’s a little after 4 A.M.