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Pond - Tasmania CD (album) cover

TASMANIA

Pond

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.96 | 4 ratings

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TCat
4 stars "Pond" is a Psychedelic/Space Rock band from Australia founded in 2008 by Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson (both from "Tame Impala"), and Joseph Ryan. Kevin Parker (on drums) joined the band in 2009, and from that time the band has released 8 albums which includes their latest (up to this point) "Tasmania" released in March of 2019. The line up for this album consists of the four mentioned above, Nick on vocals, guitar, slide guitar, keyboards, bass, flute and drums; Jay on guitar, vocals, drums, bass, keyboards and synthesizer; Joseph on guitar, 12 string guitar, slide guitar bass and vocals; and Kevin on production and mixing along with Jamie Terry on keyboards, synth, organ and bass; and James Ireland on drums. Guest musicians include 2 cellists, another drummer and a guitarist.

The music on this album is an interesting mix of bright pop and psychedelic rock. It has an alternative vibe to it all, but there is that hazy feel to it that suggests a psychedelic sound. The music uses a heavy amount of electronics and synthesizers with processed sound from other instruments that make for a unique sound. The brightness of the music makes is sound cheery, but the lyrics don't necessarily match that positive sound. Vocals are raspy but melodic and appealing, and there are often echo effects and an airy timbre to them. There are similarities to other bands like "MGMT", "Of Montreal" and even "The Flaming Lips" in that there is that pop sound, but it's not really typical because there is the underlying psychedelic sound and the melodies are a bit more complex.

The music on "Tasmania" is much more groove oriented than on most of their previous albums with solid beats and constant manipulation with the instruments and riffs to keep things unique. There is a danceable feel to the first 4 tracks, but each still feel unique. There is some variation here too, not everything is an upbeat track as is the case with "Hand Mouth Dancer" which uses a more moderate, yet still funky groove with deep synths, and has a more emotional sound in the vocals and a stately riff. The sound changes about halfway in the track as things become beautifully lush and then a steady beat takes hold as a chopped up keyboard melody comes in. "Goodnight P.C.C." goes off in a more experimental direction during the instrumental breaks and a sparse percussive beat during the vocals keep this track more in the psychedelic genre than the pop genre. As it continues, the electronic manipulation gives it all a dreamy quality that is quite nice.

"Burnt Out Star" is the longest track here at over 8 minutes, and it is definitely a lush yet trippy sound with some amazing harmonics and very minimal percussion as it feels more like a free floating track. Soon an electronic beat gets established as synth washes ebb and flow around you and the echoing vocals seem almost random also become part of the atmosphere of the track. Just before the 6 minute mark, a heavy rhythm section makes the track suddenly more tight and intense.

This trippy, yet somewhat poppy sound continues through the rest of the album. The music is thick in electronics and synthesizers, but retains that lush and psychedelic sound throughout, even in the R&B influenced "Selene" which also featured layered guitars in the instrumental break. It is understandable, because of the hazy feel of the album, that it would be included in the Psychedelic genre, but just know that even though the album has this pop vibe, that it is still complex and unique enough to keep the prog heads interested. Even though the first part of the album has a danceable vibe to it, it veers away from this after the first four tracks, but even those songs are unique and interesting in their own way. The production and mixing on this album is quite amazing also, it seems like a lot of work went into this album, making it accessible, but not totally commercial, and best of all, very unique. The music is very colorful, just like the album cover.

TCat | 4/5 |

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