After more than a decade of exploring different offshoots of '60s psych, acid rock, and sludgy proto-metal-inspired sound, Pontiak arrived at their eighth full-length album, Innocence. Made up of a nice mesh of fine-tuned performances and adventurous production choices, the album follows an evolution of exploratory sounds to territory both heavy and languidly dreamy. The menacing howls that open "Lack Lustre Rush" echo Iggy's savage animal cries on the Stooges' rawest Fun House moments, and quickly blur that album's sultry rock swagger with a more churning acid-metal groove. This tune gives way to the fuzz-fest of "Ghosts," a droning rocker somewhere between Sabotage-era Sabbath and the searing psych-punk of Comets on Fire. After the assault of the first three songs, things take a decided dip toward more gentle songwriting, tapping into '70s radio pop harmonies on "Wildfires," acoustic reflection on "Noble Heads," and some John Lennon-fronting-Spiritualized melodic gracefulness on "Darkness Is Coming." These tunes are interspersed with heavier jams, all put to tape in a completely analog process at the band's home studio, and crackling with the dusty glow of vintage tape machines and outboard gear. All told, Innocence finds Pontiak in a place both refined and vividly experimental, reining in their unhinged psychedelic guitar blasts and mind-melting production with some of their most nuanced songwriting to date.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas