Pony Up

Sure, you think you know from Chicago bands with a female bassist and a romantic relationship in the ranks. Who knows? The Ponys, Chicago’s reigning rock-and-roll darlings, may well have stolen those moves from the Smashing Pumpkins.

But the similarity stops there.

The Ponys eschew guitar fuzz and melancholia for a sprightly synthesizer and a faux-British accent that make them sound like a way cooler version of the Hives. Singer Jered evokes Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen (in a good mood). His girlfriend, bassist Melissa (no need for surnames here, pal), drummer Nathan, and multi-instrumentalist Ian create an upbeat swirl of clever lyrics and catchy melodies, addressing subjects ranging from house pets (“Little Friends”) to Narcissism (“I Love You ‘Cause You Look Like Me”). You’ll be tapping your toes and bopping your head in no time.

Try that with Pumpkins.

Available online at amazon.com. Performance on June 17 at the Metro, 3730 North Clark Street, between Racine and Waveland Avenues (773-549-0203).