Pond began as a reaction to Tame Impala. Tame was precision, in essence, one man’s vision. Pond was loose, a collective of wild energy with no masterplan, control mechanism nor kill switch. The band’s music was a rub of its personalities. As a result, records were often chaotic, all over the shop but exploding with energy.
After more studied efforts of garage psych on Psychedelic Mango and Beards, Wives and Denim Pond began sounded like a group forever on the verge of coming unstrung completely. Structures fell away, the music itself unpredictable. Saying all this might sound like a reading from the recipe book for the worst jam band ever, but the craziest thing was that it worked.
People loved it. Pond fans fell for the idea of the psychedelic jam. There was space in Australian music for the cosmic weird, a welcoming mat for another Mothers of Invention or a Captain Beefheart. Not that many of Pond’s fans knew these names, they didn’t have to. All they needed to grasp was that Pond’s albums were something from the known and that anchoring concept of Tame Impala would always assure them that these were musicians who knew their chops.
Pond never carried themselves as too seriously minded when it came to their art, they were down to earth people. But the world started taking them seriously. People kept listening to the records and going to the shows. A new generation of aspiring musicians began jamming too.
And for Pond this was an invitation to keep going, to see where this all could take them. Inevitably the band evolved. Between Hobo Rocket and The Weather, a balancing of personalities began to take hold. Now with Tasmania comes a long-gestating harmony. This record is concise. There’s structure, cohesion.
Tasmania puts the polish on many of synth pop ideas of The Weather. Nick Allbrook gives a voice to the new sound for the record’s opener. Guided by searching lyrics ‘Daisy’ is something between ‘99 Luftballons’, ‘Space Oddity’ and Cold Chisel’s ‘Sweet Wine’, a time skipping narrative of frontier massacres, melancholy, romance, and Perth spring. Where else have you ever heard a song about colonialism and Xbox? It’s not just a collage of thought but the vehicle for a rare kind of emotional tenderness. Pure madcap.
Jay Watson takes reigns for ‘Burnt Out Star’. It’s the record’s left-of-centre torch song. ‘Sixteen Days’ sees the whole band take on INXS and electro funk. But tracing all of this album’s contours can only lead to the idea that the development of Pond’s weird language has led to something carrying on a life of its own. No two listeners will decode Tasmania the same but those who have drunk from Pond’s waters in past will agree that with the spectacular explosion of time this group has come into something unique, special and entirely their own.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
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