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Pond - The Weather (Album Review)

Friday, 12 May 2017 Written by Graeme Marsh

Billed as a “Technicolor odyssey”, the latest release from Australian psychedelic rockers Pond makes for a challenging listen.

According to vocalist Nicholas Allbrook, ‘The Weather’ focuses on “weird contradictory things that make up a lot of colonial cities around the world like Perth” and has also been cited as a “coming of age” for the band. But, in all honesty, if that’s truly the case then one wonders how it took them so long to navigate the adolescent stage of the band.

Pond have shared multiple members with Tame Impala - Kevin Parker returns to produce here - and still exist in their shadow to an extent, but we’ve been getting to grips with their synthesizer-heavy rock since 2008. 'The Weather' is their seventh album to date.

After bludgeoning its way through the pulsating opening track 30,000 Megatons - its cacophonous, pulverising climax and melodramatic vocals reflecting despair at potential nuclear war - the album settles down into more familiar territory.

Sweep Me Off My Feet is a glowing example of what these guys do best. They’ve always been into sonic explorations other bands may fear to attempt, but their calling card is warm and sunny sounds reflecting the Australian climate and lifestyle. Playing to their strengths, the track blends catchy, brassy synth melodies with sweet vocals and swathes of synths. The summery vibes continue for the almost horizontally laid back Paint Me Silver, conjuring up a relaxed state set to a trippy beat.

Split into two separate cuts, the core of the record is Edge Of The World Pts 1 and 2. Although the three sections of the first part leave you mesmerised, it isn’t until its final third that the belting synths and percussion appear to really hook you. To get there is a trek, a theatrical performance even.

Part 2, however, has a more consistent appeal, firstly walking an intricate path through carefully picked, captivating guitar melodies and mellow vocals before lifting off in a synth-heavy, bubbling mid-section. Its conclusion is cinematic and reminiscent of Electric Light Orchestra.

Elsewhere, results fluctuate. Zen Automaton wavers between uninspiring jazzy drama and impressive tinkly keys with some needless expletives, while chimpanzee squawks and pulsing synths compete for attention on the equally patchy All I Want For Xmas (Is A Tascam 388).

Colder Than Ice amounts to a sonic mishmash at times, while remaining intriguing, and A/B manages to mix another raucous mess with a piano-peppered ode to an ‘angel’ in barely more than two minutes. The chilled title track closes the collection with a cool, strangely warped wah-wah melody.

At times irresistible, at times frustratingly erratic, ‘The Weather’ takes its place towards the upper end of Pond’s catalogue. Relaxing the band’s experimental tendencies may take too much away from their collective whole, but without doing so they may never quite produce the consistency a truly great album requires.

Pond Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu June 15 2017 - BRIGHTON Brighton Concorde 2
Fri June 16 2017 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Sat June 17 2017 - LEEDS Leeds Uni Stylus
Mon June 19 2017 - GLASGOW Art School Glasgow
Tue June 20 2017 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Wed June 21 2017 - BRISTOL Thekla

Click here to compare & buy Pond Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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