HAILING from Nashville, Chrome Pony are a  band that drip out garage rock like their tour mates Cage the Elephant but with an added southern twang.

The southern rockers have returned with the concise six-track release Past Lives, this time as a quartet on record. Previously working as a two-piece for their last two releases – 2011’s Illegal Smiles and 2013’s Lazy Bones – the band have revamped their line-up and expanded the outfit. It has went from siblings Kyle Davis on drums and Tyler Davis on guitar and vocals, to adding Jota Ese on bass and Ric Alessio on organ. This way, there has been a drastic shift from garage punk to psychedelic garage.

Album opener ‘Road Dope‘ is rather de já vu – it has that homogeneous garage punk tempo that was intrinsic to their first two albums, but with an underlying organ following the melody. The added organ is a contributing factor to its accolade as the finest track on the record: the rhythm section is tight, the vocals are reverberating and the riff is trippy.

After the first track, songs take the decelerated approach to accommodate the southern garage aspect that they are opting for and song duration’s become the longest they’ve ever been in the Chrome Pony discography. But that’s not to say there’s a lump of substandard quality on Past Lives.

‘Eugene’ is predominantly a jam track that sounds as if it has been recorded with improvised lyrics on the spot. It’s great to hear some dominant organ for the first half of the track, as Davis manages to spout out some varied lyrics rather than the same verse he struggles to veer away from. ‘Mr. Mister’ is more of a complete track, and has an instant resemblance to a Courtney Barnett record with the dreamy melody and vocals.

But complete tracks are what the last half of the record is built up of. ‘White Witch’ sounds like one of the psychedelic space rock songs that The Verve would have produced in their golden era in the 90’s. If the organ is a doubtful addition to the four-piece for anybody, then ‘There He Goes‘ will reinforce the fact that the organ is a pleasant supplement to the guitar work on the album.

You always feel vacant after a Chrome Pony record, as all of their releases so far fail to exceed 9 songs and/or 25 minutes. That can be said for their first two records – the ramshackle synergy that is solely guitar, drums and vocals is phenomenal in its simplicity, leaving you wanting more – but Past Lives doesn’t deliver just as satisfyingly as their two predecessors do. Their third record does feel like their most controlled and refined, as they’ve separated themselves from the angst-ridden adolescent garage punk that the duo were evidently growing out of.

Past Lives is more mature – and even though it develops an urge to miss their old ways, this is a gigantic step forward for any band wanting to flourish. It’s hats off to Chrome Pony for not just staying in the same, identical genre, bashing out every release in a similar fashion until only a few people own a tiny amount of interest in what is being released. Not many bands experiment and adapt for their third album, but appreciatively, this Nashville outfit have done wonders with themselves that has landed them a Cage the Elephant support slot in Europe.