Volo Volo

Poi Dog Pondering — an eight-piece Austin, Tex.-based band that originated in Honolulu and utilizes such varied instruments as violin, banjo, and trumpet — is generally known for its distinctive blend of Hawaiian idioms, tropical twang, and meandering, hippieish folk rock. But on their third album, Volo Volo, the Poi Dogs seem to be making a concerted effort to sound like somebody (actually, anybody and everybody) else. With the help of four producers, the band has slapped such incongruous elements as soul-style backup vocals onto their otherwise gentle, folksy songs. The result is a sometimes bland, sometimes confusing battle of styles. ”Get Me On” could be by any old bad, bland British dance band, ”Tall” is only pseudo-soulful, and ”Jack Ass Ginger” tries way too hard to rock. ”Lackluster” and ”Collarbone” are lovely songs, but elsewhere singer Frank Orrall seems to have lost his mellow surfboy mentality. Sadly, Poi Dog Pondering has managed to steamroller right over its uniqueness and charm. What it needs is a quick shot of self-esteem (or perhaps a trip back to the mountains of Oahu) to help it to remember its roots. C+

Volo Volo
  • Music