Sharing three members with fellow psychedelic sons Tame Impala, the Perth-based band, Pond, have a similar paisley-printed sensibility. Tame Impala’s recently departed bassist Nick Allbrook leads the reeling Pond, a collective less focused on crafting psych-pop numbers and more on riffing on feeling.
The ensemble’s magnificent 2012 release Beard, Wives, Denim was grainy in the right spots and space-rock smooth in the gaps. This time around Pond is ready for a full-on takeoff into the cosmos with their latest, Hobo Rocket. The claustrophobia of recording on a farm in western Australia may have contributed to Beard, Wives Denim‘s concision, whereas Hobo Rocket is a more freewheeling response to modern psychedelia.
Despite the explosive ambition, Hobo Rocket is hastily structured; it’s a departure from the remarkable concision that characterized Beard, Wives Denim. Riffs resound like bursts of flame, with “Aloneaflameaflowe” as the prime example of reeling instrumentation. Yet sometimes the tracks sputter, the vocals slightly disconnected from the fluidity of the instrumentation. Hobo Rocket also differs in its implementation of a horn section especially prevalent on “Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide” and the sitar swells of “O Dharma”.
But when Hobo Rocket shines, it’s blinding. “O Dharma” is the album’s standout and a late-summer masterpiece, akin to lying in the park and seeing peach-tinted dots when you close your eyes. Still, Pond is especially skilled at stitching seamless folds between pedal bursts, percussion and synth warps, as on the single “Xanman”. Where they’ll fly next remains unseen, but one thing is certain: these earthen aliens are sure to land somewhere weird and wonderful.
Essential Tracks: “O Dharma”, “Xanman”