November 10 — “Easy Way Down” by Snowpony

Snowpony

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Easy Way Down” by Snowpony (1998, from the album The Slow Motion World of Snowpony).

Snowpony was an indie rock/noise-pop/experimental supergroup from London. The principal members of the band were Katharine Gifford (who sang and played keys on the first three Stereolab records, and also on at least one Moonshake album), Deborah Googe (who played bass in My Bloody Valentine, Debbie Smith (who played guitar in Curve, SPC ECO and Echobelly). The original drummer was Max Corradi from Rollerskate Skinny.

Between 1998 and 2003, Snowpony put out two proper albums and a short album that was download only. During that time, Gifford and Googe were said to be a couple.

Obviously I was very much drawn to The Slow Motion World of Snowpony when I read about it. I liked all the bands that those girls had been in, and there was every reason to assume that I would love Snowpony. While Snowpony isn’t exactly like Curve, or MBV, or Moonshake, or Stereolab, they show their stripes from those bands.

I remember being completely infatuated with The Slow Motion World of Snowpony. It lived in my car’s CD player for a really long time. Back before we could make cd copies. Before “digital copy” was even a thing. Remember carrying the physical copy around? Remember multi-disc changers? I tried telling everyone who would listen about Snowpony. Few people listened.

I never knew it at the time, but there were apparently some big-time legal battles going on between the band and their label (Radioactive Records). In the end, they got out of their contract, and they self-released the second album on September 11, 2001. Two years later, they released a six-song “album”, which was available exclusively as a download. Technically the band never split. Technically, they’re still active. Theoretically, anyway. Googe probably isn’t available at the moment.

With the news that the “new” MBV record, 21 years in the making, will be released by the end of this year, and a tour to follow, I think Debbie Googe just got her calendar pretty full.

Perhaps it’s because it’s the first song on the record, but “Easy Way Down” has always been my favorite Snowpony song. This is that song.

“Easy Way Down” by Snowpony

I like the tiny little play across the stereo field in the song’s first three seconds. The rhythm is ridiculously infectious, and I like that too. I love the waves of feedback and the heavy distortion. Through it all, Gifford’s vocals are crisp and clean, thanks to the tidy production of John McEntire.

I’ll very firmly recommend that you listen to this through a decent pair of headphones. It also sounds great on big speakers, or in the car, but it’s way more fun on headphones.

The song is sort of about complacency. The bulk of the lyrics:

Its’ easy to be comfortable
But it’s a long way down to the sea

You pay for the hope, I’ll pay for the rest
I didn’t have a future ’til I got one and quit it
Time’s getting faster and I haven’t done anything yet
No, not yet

You take the praise because I’m paying for the past
Pretended not to have a history until it caught up with me, at last
Time’s still getting faster and I haven’t done much yet
It’s not quite what you wanted, but that’s all you’re going to get

The road ahead is dusty and long
It’s making me thirsty just thinking about it
I’m definitely going to need another drink

That’s such a strange and sad line “I didn’t have a future til I got one and quit it”, and that line about “that’s all you’re going to get” has always been my favorite. Sure, it’s a paraphrasing of a Rolling Stones song, but it’s still cool.

I think that The Slow Motion World of Snowpony is out of print, but used copies are everywhere. You should be able to find one with ease.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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