POND: Tasmania (Interscope) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024  




Apr 12, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

On “The Boys are Killing Me,” one of the centerpieces of POND’s groove heavy psych-pop opus Tasmania, frontman Nick Allbrook sings “So we staggered off into the night/Drunk, but overjoyed just to be employed.” Psychedelic rockers are not generally the kinds to get political, but the pairing of transcendent longing, desperation at an unknowable destructive force, and cosmic empathy with the world actually turns out to be a pretty apt diagnostic lens with which to view modern life. The album even comes with its own meta-reflection on this political turn, as Allbrook croons over a lurching synth bass arpeggiation on “Hand Mouth Dancer,” “I’m no hero, just do my/Hand mouth dance/For all the actual heroes.” This humble awareness of not being a martyr as an artist is even more rare in the psych-rock scene where egos get lost only to be rediscovered as vehicles for zany performance pieces meant to end wars and starvation, but mostly consisting of solipsistic expressions of self-righteousness.

That is not to say that POND has suddenly become This Heat or become steadfast proponents of a particular ideology. They are simply taking stock of things that are going on all around them, things like toxic masculinity and a resurgent nationalism, that frankly it would require an unbelievable amount of insulation to not see. Despite such thematic concerns the album never feels like it is delving into preach-mode though, because for all of the focus on urgent political topics the band never loses its deeply human approach that focalizes on small moments of intimacy and probes those to reveal the ways that the political contexts around us affect us in vivid and direct ways. Over burbling synths and cosmic jam sessions the soundscapes veer from of Montreal to Can, but the innocently pensive voice at the core of it all unifies all of these threads into a quilt your psyched out grandmother knit to keep you warm whenever you needed to recharge. (www.pondband.net)

Author rating: 7/10

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