Release Date: May 5, 2017
Record label: Marathon Artists
“I’m sorry to all the long-haired Pond fan dudes out there in advance who’ll probably be like ‘fuckin’ Kevin’s ruined Pond… they’ll probably be doing something with bloody Lady Gaga soon,” said frontman Nick Allbrook at the start of the year when asked to give an update on The Weather, the band's seventh LP. “I’m sorry everyone but it’s not Kevin’s fault – we just like pop music. ” Pond are forever associated with Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker - various members having played in his live band, Parker consistently offering his production services in return (he's behind the desk again here) - and it would be easy to assume that Parker’s trajectory from psych-rock bedroom auteur to festival-headlining, long-haired groover of future R&B and go-to guy for Gaga and Mark Ronson has had an influence on his less studious, more happy-go-lucky buddies.
The seventh (yes, really) album from Pond, entitled The Weather is certainly atmospheric in its nature, but is balance with a meteorological sense of the topical. Lyrically, it's a broad, emotionally-led investigation into 'the state of things'. By no means, however, is it bogged down by the precise or the singular or the definitive. Within its lyrical muddlings, we might be able to tease of a forecast of things to come, or it might just be fooling us with a potent swirling of punchy psychedelic rock.
Last time we heard from POND, they were heading on a wild, garage-rock based excursion into the solar system on ‘Man, It Feels Like Space Again’. True to their refusal to be the kind of band you can pin down or predict where they’re going, they’ve changed things up yet again on their seventh album. ‘The Weather’ still has their fundamentals at its core - out-there psych-rock, Nicholas Allbrook’s urgent wails, mind-boggling lyrics that take several listens to comprehend - but it’s given them a polish and an upgrade into something new and improved.
With this in mind, and with Kevin Parker once again drafted in as Pond producer, The Weather - the seventh LP in what has been a somewhat prolific recording career - bears more than a trace of the alluring psych-disco merry-go-round that Tame Impala appeared to perfect on 2015's Currents. "Paint Me Silver", which glows and glimmers with all the frantic hubbub of an all-night video game arcade, is the most on-the-nose example of this considerable similarity. Nick Allbrook's serene voice rises and falls over a smooth bassline in the sweetest of ways, sounding like the Bee Gees sharing helium (and perhaps some other choice substances) with Prince at Studio 54.
F ew discussions about Perth outfit Pond are likely to pass without at least a nod to Kevin Parker's Tame Impala. Not only have the two bands shared multiple members over the years, including Parker himself, but they've also evolved in what has seemed like musical parallel, with Pond providing a wilder, sun-scorched take on Parker's poppy psych-rock. It's unsurprising, then, that in the wake of Parker's decision to largely ditch guitars for synthetic textures on 2015's Currents, Pond have made a musical leap of their own, away from the 60s- and 70s-indebted sound of their earlier work and towards something more frilly-collared.
Psychedelic princelings Pond are back with their most conventionally named album yet - but don't let that fool you. Cosmic and colourful, The Weather is an evocative testament to not giving a shit. With production handled by musical compatriot and Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker, Pond draw on everything at their disposal with exciting - even chaotic - results.
On The Weather, all the Pond tricks are here, with a new sense of emotion and vulnerability that the Aussie psych band have rarely explored in their previous works. Much like their Australian compatriot and producer, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Pond's sound has moved further away from conventional rock sound and has become more digital. "Sweep Me Off My Feet" takes you away to some future disco, and not gently, with the quietness of the previous track being almost interrupted with stark synth notes.
Pond have arguably suffered over the years from their close associations to fellow Perth acid-rock aesthetes Tame Impala. But despite Kevin Parker's role as producer on this seventh album, they continue to show a maverick character of their own while sharing Parker's ear for a heady, swirling prog-pop soundscape. Their lyrical themes for one thing help add value on this loosely conceptual set.
Because of the success that one-time Pond drummer Kevin Parker has had with his solo vehicle Tame Impala , it's easy to mistake Pond for a spinoff act--especially since Pond's music wasn't released outside of Australia until their fourth album, Beard, Wives, Denim , in 2012. Parker has functioned as in-house mixing engineer since Pond's 2009 debut Psychedelic Mango , while two of Pond's three core members--Nick Allbrook and Jay Watson--have in turn served as touring members of Tame Impala. The two bands share a penchant for grand, arena-sized music that carries the torch for 1970s classic rock.
A reference to a once mundane subject that's come to be loaded with the realities of climate change, The Weather is the seventh studio LP from Australian psych-pop outfit Pond. The album was produced by Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, bandmate and former bandmate of Pond founders Jay Watson and Nick Allbrook, respectively. The title also refers to the sociopolitical climate leading up to its release in the spring of 2017.