EP Premiere: Ponder – “Trouble in the Self-View”

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Ponder is the project of Murfreesboro born Joseph Barnum. It began as a very cut-and-dry pop punk/acoustic solo project when he was a teenager, and took a hiatus during college to evolve in the background. Growing up in Tennessee along with talented songwriter A.J. Gruenewald (aka Bogues), Joe has been inspired to write similarly lyric focused songs with lightly driven rhythm guitars. His newest release as Ponder is an EP titled, Trouble in the Self-View, which lends itself well to that style as a sophomore release.The addition of some slide melodies and his experimentation with Nashville’s country roots makes for nice easy listening.

Trouble in the Self-View is about as reflective as you can get. It has the brand of subjectivity that only comes from a personal release and a hypercritical mind. Specifically in tracks like “Congratulations” and “Redundancy,” listeners may get a familiar feeling of focusing so hard on yourself that you develop tunnel vision. You lose sight of the bigger picture if you can hardly see who you are; “I feel sometimes as if I’m not who I try to be.” 

The album has a midrange of production and composition that shows a strong foot forward in comparison to the debut 1st Degree of 2017. While there are still edges to be smoothed out, this EP signals a rise in Barnum’s songwriting towards a zenith he’s yet to crest. I believe with the inclusion of a full band, these gaps could be supported by a blend of styles and a meeting of minds. Ponder has the potential to produce the kind of country inspired emo music that came strong from bands like Hodera and is still rolling out with releases as recent as the new Downhaul LP. With more balanced and dynamic composition, and closer consideration to cadence, meter and perspective, we could easily see Ponder skip to the front of the rising tide of country emo and alternative music being released lately.

Check out Trouble in the Self-View streaming here ahead of its 6/4 streaming release!


Ponder · Trouble in the Self View


Luciano Ferrara | @LucianoRFerrara

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