Perth quartet Pond have continued their space exploration on seventh album, The Weather. The album is produced by Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker, but that’s not to take any credit away from Pond. With Parker’s assistance, the psych-rock weirdos are moving their sound towards a more cosmically-electronic direction, combining booming synthesisers, brash drum patterns and desolate lyrics. At the same time, the band are moving away from all acoustics that sparingly existed in their previous six records. The result of this increase in electronics is undoubtedly Pond’s most promising material.
The Weather kicks off with the synth-driven ‘30000 Megatons’, where frontman Nicholas Allbrook demands the human race be blown away by nuclear weapons. The opener teases a climax but doesn’t reach the anticipated height. Although the track could’ve been stronger, it lays the foundations for the first half of the album, as they follow along their heavy-synth influence. ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ again uses the blaring synths and a huge drum beat, satisfying the craving for a climax that its predecessor couldn’t find and making it one of the definitive highlights of the album.
Pond continue their gloomy outlook on the world on ‘Colder Than Ice’, pairing a beautifully constructed pop tune with the issues of drug use… Nope, this one isn't about the weather. However, Pond discuss “the lure of the pipe” on the track, referring to the drug that is tearing communities apart around Australia. It’s not the only time this is mentioned on the album, as Allbrook sings “the ice and the iron is wearing me thin” on ‘Edge Of The World Pt. 1’.
All of Pond’s previous album have been based around the band’s humour, evident just by looking through their catalogue and seeing song titles such as ‘Heroic Shart’ and ‘Psychedelic Mango Vision’. Although Pond have a far grimmer concept on The Weather, their humour is not lost, with the track ‘All I Want For Xmas (Is A Tascam 388)’ filling the void. The title is self explanatory, with the band letting their music geekiness shine without shame. Feels like they wrote this one when they were 16...
Although Pond recover some of their traditional motifs, the sonic development is what makes The Weather overcome the band’s previous albums. Pond’s musical development is particularly represented on ‘Zen Automaton', showcasing a neo-soul side of the band that hasn’t been revealed until now. The track is a slow burning piano ballad with the isolated vocals of Allbrook in the first half before a saxophone solo hijacks the song in the second half.
In the past, Pond have been categorically earmarked as a Tame Impala spin-off band, as members have overlapped with the two bands from their Perth beginnings. The Weather is Pond’s best album to date and will see them finally break away from the unsuitable Tame Impala tag that has shadowed their previous work. Pond will make a name for themselves with The Weather.
Highlight: ‘Colder Than Ice'
Rating: 8.5 cosmic explorations outta 10…
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