The trio of Pond takes the psych influence that comes from sharing two members of Tame Impala and adds a freeform rock flavor distinctly their own. Recorded in 2010, Beard, Wives, Denim is the group’s once shelved fourth release that’s now serving as their introduction onto the Modular Label. Pond creates the same articulately layered soundscapes as those of Tame Impala, but Pond seems more willing to experiment and creates a sound rich in spirited excitement.
This spirit comes from their chosen recording space, an old farmhouse located in the countryside of Western Australia. Beard, Wives, Denim easily switches up the identity within each track, swapping frantic moments of shredding with delicate vocal interludes. The high energy “Fantastic Explosion of Time” beckons listeners in with a sweeping group chorus and breaks down into bursts of spacey guitar. The drums on “Sun and Sea and You” easily morph from triumphant to suave before an unexpected ending of chaotic but engulfing riffs. Even spare bits of laughter and conversation are used without detracting from the biting kick that comes with “Dig Brother.”
Though most of the group’s reliance upon lengthy instrumental sessions comes with a satisfying pay-off, some serve as an opportunity to tune out. Hushed vocals and quavering keys provide a suitable backdrop for “Mystery”, but the beauty of the beginning is lost in a drawn-out ending of sheer fuzz and feedback. While closer “Moreno’s Blend” commandeers attention with its opening, the stripped-down acoustics provide an easy point of exit from the album.
Not all listeners are likely to enjoy the moments of instrumental experiments, but the varying forms of psych rock that pack the 53 minutes of Beard, Wives, Denim are enough to please both fans of Pond and those waiting for a Tame Impala follow up.
Essential Tracks: “Fantastic Explosion of Time”, “Dig Brother”