Perth quartet Pond have continued their space exploration on their seventh album, The Weather. The album is produced by Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker, but that’s not to take away any credit from Pond. With the assistance of Parker, the psych-rock weirdos are moving their sound into a more cosmically-electronic direction, combining booming synthesisers, brash drum patterns and desolate lyrics. At the same time, the band are moving away from all acoustics that sparingly existed in their previous eight records. The result of Pond’s increase in electronics is undoubtedly their most promising material from an extensive discography.
The Weather kicks off with the synth-driven ‘30000 Megatons’, where frontman Nicholas Allbrook demands the human race be blown away by nuclear weapons. The opener teases a climax, but doesn’t reach the height as anticipated. Although the track could’ve been stronger, it lays the foundations for the first half of the album, as they follow on with the heavy-synth sound. ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ again uses the blaring synths and a huge drum beat, satisfying the craving for a climax that its predecessor couldn’t find, making it one of the definitive highlights of the album.
Pond continue their gloomy outlook on the world on ‘Colder Than Ice’, which again pairs a beautifully constructed pop tune with the issue of drug use… No, this one is not about the weather. However, Pond discuss “the lure of the pipe” on ‘Colder Than Ice’, referring to the drug that is tearing communities apart around Australia. It’s not the only time Ice is mentioned on the album, as Allbrook sings “the ice and the iron is wearing me thin” on ‘Edge Of The World Pt. 1’.
All of Pond’s previous album have been based around the band’s humour, evident just by looking through their catalogue and seeing song titles such as ‘Heroic Shart’ and ‘Psychedelic Mango Vision’. Although Pond have a far grimmer concept on The Weather, their humour is not lost, with the track ‘All I Want For Xmas (Is A Tascam 388)’ filling the void. The title is self explanatory, with the band showing their music geekiness, wishing for a Tascam 388 tape machine for Christmas.
Although Pond recover some of their traditional motifs, the sonic development is what makes The Weather overcame the band’s previous albums. ‘Zen Automaton’ particularly represents Pond’s musical development, showcasing a neo-soul side of the band that hasn’t been revealed until now. The track is a slow burning piano ballad with isolated vocals of Allbrook in the first half, before a saxophone solo hijacks the song in the second half.
In the past, Pond have been categorically earmarked as a Tame Impala spin-off band, as members have overlapped with the two bands from their beginnings in Perth. The Weather is Pond’s best album so far and will see them finally be able to break away from the unsuitable Tame Impala tag that has shadowed their previous work. Pond will make a name for themselves with The Weather.
Highlight: ‘Colder Than Ice’