Whenever the term â€œsupergroupâ€ is used, it usually comes backed with the expectation that the end result is going to be something great. Such expectations arenâ€™t always fulfilled, however. (Does anyone remember Zwan?) But with Tired Pony, the title â€œsupergroupâ€ is right on the money.
The band consists of Snow Patrol front man Gary Lightbody, R.E.M. axeman Peter Buck, longtime R.E.M. collaborator Scott McCaughey, producer Garret â€œJacknifeâ€ Lee, and Belle and Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn. Also making brief appearances on the album are solo artist Iain Archer, Lightbodyâ€™s guitar tech Troy Stewart, M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel of She & Him, and Editorsâ€™ Tom Smith.
Their debut record The Place We Ran From, is simplistic, sparse and vulnerable. It is a pure distillation of musicians making music for themselves, not for some audience that is a mixture of each of their individual fan bases.
Set in a desolate part of America, the album is rich with stories of heartache and defiance, acoustic pleas from the perspectives of men who have nothing left to lose. Lyrics like â€œAnd with the sun set, the neon awakes/And the cold colours dance on your skin/Finally the modern makes sense to me,â€ prove that Lightbody is as comfortable with fragile ballads as he is with sweeping rock anthems.
For those of you who think that Tired Pony might just sound like Snow Patrol redux, just give the album a shot and think again. Featuring bizarre sounds like a bowed saw, a typewriter, and a rubber duck as instruments on one track, I guarantee that you wonâ€™t hear another album like this all year.