Country-soul powerhouse Caitlin Harnett and The Pony Boys released their second album All Night Long through Spunk Records today, the follow-up to successful debut Late Night Essentials (2020) which scored the title Album of the Week on FBi Radio and 2SER.
Originally formed in 2015, Caitlin Harnett and The Pony Boys have spent the last few years touring across Australia and the US, playing festivals and supporting great acts such as: Orville Peck, The Nude Party, Tony Joe White, Hurray For The Riff Raff and The Felice Brothers. In 2021, following the launch tour of Late Night Essentials, the Sydney based band was named Best Live Act in NSW at the National Live Music Awards. A recent highlight saw the band touring with Texan blues and Americana artist Charley Crockett on his first Australian tour this year.
Since I was first exposed to Caitlin’s work I’ve admired the effortlessness in her vocals. Her voice cuts through full of grit and laid-back attitude. With three great singles out in 2023, I was excited to hear the FL album coming out and All Night Long didn’t disappoint.
Charismatic front woman, Caitlin Harnett calls it ‘a break-up album’, even though she admits it’s rather more in hindsight. I could strongly feel the self-reflection and the triumph of the freshly freed woman vibes in the songwriting. Travelling up and down on the emotional spectrum, All Night Long comes across as a mature work, and actually quite a cheerful for a break-up album.
The Americana FL kicks off with one of the band’s recent singles ‘I’ll Get By’. Bold and bright, it sets the tone for the album: yes, break ups suck but I am choosing not to be a victim!
Next up is ‘Sidelines’, the band’s latest single. Winning me over straight away with its catchy melody, it already sounds and feels like a classic. Definitely a personal favourite!
‘Can’t Have It All’ follows, exploring in depth the different feelings of anger, sadness, and eventual acceptance that come with a difficult break up. While lyrically a little bit more depressing, the song evens up, and brings you back up to the positive side of it all with a rich and uplifting instrumental outro.
‘Lil Ripper’, is an honest sneak peak into band life. The successes and failures as well as the too many drinks and cherished friendships. Same as ‘Can’t Have It All’, ‘Lil Ripper’ finishes on a reflective note with a long instrumental section.
‘Only Dreaming’ is full of feel and has that big atmosphere sound. It brings you back to the theme of soul exploration, calling to take responsibility for your own life.
And yet, Caitlin is not one to dwell in melancholy for too long, it seems, blending in the dancey ‘Even Cowgirls Cry’. Chosen as the first single out of the album, this is the one to lift you up post-crisis. Meanwhile, track 7, ‘Living With Yourself’, is a self-loving ballad that begs for a sing along. It’s hard not to imagine a huge crowd rocking side to side with waving lights to this tune!
Taking more of a dark turn with ‘Max’s Song’, touching on the theme of loss, and ‘If I Don’t Have You’ – dubbed by Caitlin as her ‘big sad break up song’ – All Night Long wraps on an encouraging note, with ‘Waiting For Something’, a chilled tune full of hope and self-realisation.
Full of mood building instrumental pauses, vulnerable lyrics and Caitlin’s signature voice All Night Long delivers a full experience with a unique footprint.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Listen to the album and all the recent updates on Caitlin and The Pony Boys HERE
Catch Caitlin on her upcoming Australian Tour. Dates and deets HERE
All artist quotes and images supplied by George Hatzigeorgiou, Hearts & Minds Agency