Pond

Man, It Feels Like Space Again

Caroline

Jan 26, 2015 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent Bookmark and Share


Six albums into their career, Pond is still known by most as that other psych-rock band from Australia. Indeed, it's hard to discuss their music without immediately comparing them to their, um, tamer counterpart from Down Under; they share members, the same taste in sci-fi guitar effects, and the same penchant for slipping into lavish instrumental jams. But whereas Tame Impala is the singular vision of one man fleshed out by many, Pond is what the "many" are up to in the meantime.

You could boil most Pond criticism down to this: They are the reckless, wacky, free-spirited ying to Tame Impala's more polished and sincere yang. From a critical perspective, that low-hanging fruit is tempting, but with Man, It Feels Like Space Again, it misses the point. These songs are attempts to catch lightning in a bottle. Pond's gravel-voiced frontman Nick Allbrook isn't retreating to coastal cabins for years at a time between releases-Feels Like Space was recorded one month after the release of 2013's Hobo Rocket. He's picking up his guitar, playing what feels right, and laying it to tape before he forgets.

For the listener, of course, this method can be hit or miss. The dance-romp "Elvis' Flaming Star," the blissful funk-jam "Outside is the Right Side," and the album opener "Waiting Around for Grace" harness a sense of immediacy into lucid, adventurous gems. The improved production is also welcome; the synths are fat, the drums beefy. The album suffers a midway slump with the cumbersome and appropriately titled "Heroic Shart," but otherwise tangents are kept in check. Feels Like Space is a step forward, though where Pond is headed remains anybody's guess. (www.pondband.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10



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