Album Review: POND – The Weather (2017 LP) is chaotic, confrontational and compelling

Across six albums released since 2008, POND have made a name for themselves as a band with ever-interchangeable members and a thirst for reviving the best psychedelic rock of the 1960’s/70’s. The initial motivation for POND was to create a collaborative musical project that could have anybody involved whenever they wanted. The result is a band currently led by Nick Allbrook and accompanied by Jay Watson, Shiny Ryan, Jamie Terry and Ginolé.

POND’s forthcoming album, The Weather, follows a similar intergalactic theme to their previous LP, Man It Feels Like Space Again, but leaps much further both sonically and lyrically. If Man It Feels Like Space Again was the beginning of the voyage into the unknown, The Weather is the weird and wonderful exploration through uncharted landscapes. And landscapes of sound is very much what makes up this new album- extended spaces where expansive breaths of space-rock instrumentals unfold with Allbrook’s vocals echoing in in the distance.

Album opener and official single “30000 Megatons” is awesomely theatrical. The whole track feels like we’re preparing to be launched into the galaxy via the erupting vibrations of synth, which really are straight out of a sci-fi flick.

Second official single “Sweep Me Off My Feet” and bubbling psychedelic-trip “Paint Me Silver” make for two of the most directly pop moments on the album. The hooks are dreamy and “Paint Me Silver” feels especially lush and euphoric. However from here, we quickly delve into some of POND’s most experimental electronic expeditions yet.

Two of the most compelling tracks on the album, “End Of The World Pt.1” and the penultimate “End Of The World Pt.2”, grapple the ugly side of society on planet Earth head on. They’re equally dark and sprawling, employing some eerie harpsichord and gospel vocals (respectively) to powerfully bring forward the cracks in capitalist, money-hungry colonial cities (including a special mention to Gina Rineheart).

These adventurous compositions are made even more exciting with the colourful range of instruments picked and chosen for each track. “Zen Automation” is one that takes a couple of listens to appreciate the moments of whispering flute and improvised saxophone amidst a thick tapestry of crashing percussion and flickering keys. A similar clash of style is also used in “A/B”, beginning in a chaotic blur before abruptly turning into a sombre piano ballad. Like many of the tracks on The Weather, you’re getting two for one.

Reflecting on previous POND releases, this album is the most varied in regards to instrumentation. Lyrically, it’s the most confrontational. Behind the extended jams, synth meltdowns and samples from old TV commercials is Allbrook’s dizzying verses about capitalism, nuclear armageddon, violence and Christmas (“All I Want For Xmas (is A Tascam 388))”.  Episodes of chaos are met with equal parts clarity and discovery, as we navigate through POND’s transportive world of psychedelic rock.

Review Score: 8.5 out of 10.

The Weather is released May 5th by Marathon Artists.