52. Poni Hoax

Posted on 29/05/2017

52. Poni Hoax

There is a parallel between this and the previous post. Soul Coughing and Poni Hoax both did one great (in my opinion) song. And otherwise its mostly rubbish. Soul Coughing came to a sticky end in 2000. but Poni Hoax, which started around the time Soul Coughing finished, is still going. But their big hit was in their first recording (published on its own in 2005) and they have never done anything to touch it.

I should imagine that the average dancer to what became a European wide disco hit would not be able to remember much more than the word ‘Budapest’. That is just as well, since most of the words are either pretentious, nonsense, or both. The third verse will do as an example:

Tokaj running in my veins,
What was soaking is now croaking in Budapest.
Sniper holes across partitions of my soul,
Street-cars tearing up the skies of Budapest.
Travestied gods, Transylvanian guns,
I do hear and see surely I should run far from Budapest.
Cave-accordeons they taste my flesh,
And in fast motion, men are mean, mean, mean, mean and mesh.
In Budapest.

The first line is reasonable: Tokay is the famous Imperial Austro-Hungarian wine made in Hungary. The next line is just pure nonsense (as well as containing an ugly internal rhyme of ‘soaking’ and ‘croaking’). The third line could be a reference to the cold war but is certainly pretentious, as is the fourth line (‘tearing up the skies’). It goes on equally badly until it reaches a peak in the seventh line:

Cave-accordeons they taste my flesh

This manages to be pretentious and supreme nonsense.

The best line in the song is the one word ‘Budapest’. Luckily  this recurs frequently and helps to take the mind away from the rubbish lyrics elsewhere. It is probably fair to point out that the writers and singer are unlikely to have English as their native language and so may not have been aware of the daftness of what they were writing/singing. On the other hand if you publish a song in a language you have some duty to check that it makes sense.l

The fact that Budapest is their only really good song (provided you dont listen to the words) may have something to do with its being the only song sung by a girl (Olga Kouklaki) who was not part of the band. Their normal setup is four French techno musicians and one male singer.

Their next best song is ‘Antibodies’, and here it is. I will not print out more lyrics since the same sort of conclusions would follow.  Kraftwork use the same sort of feel and sound, but their words re spare and to the point. These chaps don’t do spare.

To provide a bit more life, its a live performance of ‘Antibodies’. Its largely Kraftwerk style automata style music and lyrics. But towards the end it gets into more of a groove and ends up pretty hypnotic. A good sound towards the end.

Just to round off this trip through what they probably hope is the dark soul of Poni Hoax, here is ‘Pretty Tall Girls’ which the singer treats as one word. He also essays a rather inelegant leap at one point, which on a second go looks a bit better.

I imagine teh title refers to attractive tall girls, rather than fairly tall ones. But the lyric would not be something I’d really want to investigate after trying Budapest. It is quite possibly worse, and certainly no better. This means that any lover of the English language should stay well clear.

Despite all this, the basic rhythm and feel of ‘Budapest’ is great.

 

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