Though I have long admired Jason Collett’s talents, this is the first album I can truly embrace as an exceptional piece of craft. While other LPs have contained some pretty stellar songs, they existed in isolation and the albums never fully realized as a whole. Pony Tricks, on the other hand, is a unique vision, a distinct voice and stands out with a confidence that Collett has yet to let loose. Which makes it even more acceptable when he channels his inner Lennon (“Bitter Beauty” with its “Mother”-like emotive rhythmic pacing), or resorts to familiar phrasings wrapped around well-worn love-song expressions. These songs soar thanks to his voice, restrained and beautifully stark arrangements, and the way he coaxes and teases lyrical phrasings with timing that just can’t be taught. If other albums suggested a promise, then Pony Tricks finally delivers.