Album Review: Pond - The Weather
Pond have a lot in common with Tame Impala. Both are neo-psychedelic rock projects from Perth, Australia. Both have recently progressed from fuzzy guitar driven music towards more synth oriented sounds. They’ve even shared members over the years, including Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker, who’s also been Pond’s producer since 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim album. Yet they sound incredibly different. Parker’s project combines psych rock with gorgeous, melodic and intricate songwriting. Pond, however, freely serve up bonkers, disjointed and indulgent psychedelia. Their seventh studio album The Weather is no exception.
Following 2015’s groovy Man it Feels Like Space Again, The Weather shows Pond leaning further towards poppy songwriting and electronic instrumentation. Except it doesn’t feel like they’ve sold out. Rather, Pond have turned to pop to expand their sound into even trippier territory. Frontman Nicholas Allbrook’s vocals soar with more melodic bombast than ever, bolstered by lush, spaced-out keyboards, deliciously processed drums and ropey, unhinged guitars. Unlike Tame Impala, Pond aren’t trying to polish up psychedelia for the mainstream. Their unrelenting madness still explodes through this record with quirky abandon.
The Weather is also packed with fantastic songs. Allbrook and Jay Watson co-write most of them, from the apocalyptic opener 30000 Megatons to the closing title track – one of four songs that crescendos into what Watson has aptly branded “cosmic b*******”. Allbrook is the sole writer on the nihilistic Zen Automaton, bringing a hefty chunk of political cynicism (reminiscent of his grim solo album Pure Gardiya) that permeates across the record. Conversely, Watson provides Colder Than Ice and All I Want For Xmas (is a Tascam 388) with the 80s disco vibes his solo project Gum is known for.
“…Pond hold everything together tighter than ever thanks to their unshakeable personality, captivating songwriting and Parker’s phenomenal production work.”
Other tracks include Paint Me Silver, which adds a slice of funk thanks to a slowed down sample of Cosmic Convoy by Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. The two-part epic Edge of the World explores Australia’s place in the world in grand style, whilst the lead single Sweep Me Off My Feet blends witty commentary on relationships and social media with blissful psychedelic pop. A/B is the most intriguing track, comprising of two distinct parts. Part ‘A’ is a distorted, high tempo rant about consumerism, brought abruptly down to earth by part ‘B’ as Allbrook comforts a young drug addict over a laid-back, R&B tinged instrumental similar to Tame Impala’s Currents.
There’s a diverse array of songs on The Weather, allowing for exciting if occasionally unfocused listening. Colder Than Ice and All I Want For Xmas briefly stray from the album’s concept and the first side is dominated by the more poppy tracks. Still, Pond hold everything together tighter than ever thanks to their unshakeable personality, captivating songwriting and Parker’s phenomenal production work. Ultimately, the essence of the album is summed up perfectly by Allbrook, “At the end of all this confusion in our weird little white antipodean world, there’s the beach, purity and nature that brings us all together”
The Breakdown | Album Review: Pond – The Weather
The Weather is Pond’s tightest and most creative release yet, combining cynical but witty political commentary with bonkers but beautiful psychedelia.