HONCHO PONCHO IS HERE!
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ABOUT HONCHO PONCHO via POTLUCK
Move your living room outdoors, invite your friends over and play some kubb as daylight extends into summer. With over a decade of presenting us with horse riding astronauts, psychedelic ducks, couch tremolos, and the sounds of weeble wobbles Carrboro’s North Elementary would like to now introduce to you HONCHO PONCHO.Recorded/Mixed by producer and long time collaborator Alan Weatherhead (Sparklehorse, Magnolia Electric Company) in only six days, a rawness and immediacy of this album is conveyed strongly. Songwriter John Harrison explains:”Although we don’t tour as much as we used to we still get together most every week to play and hang out. We were sorta like….we can do this…..we put the work in...…why not….lets make a finished album in six days. It was a lot of fun and seem natural for us at this point.”
Released on Carrboro/Durham NC label PotLuck, Honcho Poncho forgoes the denser 3D soundscapes that helped meld the different genres of songs North Elementary is recognized for. In turn they have created an energetic as well as engaging collection of songs more in line with the spirit of their live shows. Harrison explains further….”In the past we have viewed the recording experience as creating whatever we wanted with no regard as to the ability to play it live. We wanted to see what these songs would sound like if they were recorded in much the same way we play our shows so that is what we did.”
As well as a shift in recording approach Honcho Poncho introduces songwriter Sean Parker (Knurr and Spell, Pleasant) into the fold with the rocker “Hi-Lo” and mid tempo pop slow burn of “Left Doubt”. Along side John Harrison and in tandem with Betty Rupp on keyboards/vox it provides a unique yet familiar perspective for the current and longest running version of North Elementary to date.
Honcho Poncho is lyrically focused on relationships with others and with oneself in a collage style Harrison is known for. Often varying line from line within a song there is discovery of new truths, lucid imagery, pensive insight and humorous perceptions. Musically this fuzzed out guitar based collection of songs finds North Elementary decidedly exploring riff based moments in songs such as “Eye Glass Goggles” as well as the jangly pop of the album opener “Return to Couches”. Eversharp melodies abound in the the blissful summer anthem “Way Out (Happy Here) and the exploratory alternate tunings of “Eventually Everything Connects”.
Honcho Poncho’s directness and purposeful use of space has enabled North Elementary to add to its prolific collection of songs and albums yet another way to explore the process of creation. We hope you enjoy the result.
Poster from the masterful Ron Liberti for the "Honcho Poncho" release show!