Photo by Garth Carwardine
Collaboration is one thing, but Perth, Western Australia’s Pond takes it to a whole other level. Pond shares members from some of the region’s best groups (they draw heavily from fellow Perthlings Tame Impala‘s bullpen) for a project that’s less band, and more psychedelic rock cooperative. Just last week, Pond released their fifth long-playing record Hobo Rocket.
At the heart of Pond’s ever-changing web of players is the trio of Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson (both have been in Tame Impala’s touring band) and Joseph Ryan (who played with Allbrook in Mink Mussel Creek). Today they’re also joined by Cam Avery (who leads The Growl, and, back in May, replaced Allbrook as Tame Impala’s touring bassist) and Jamie Terry (of Perth’s The Silents). Yes, it’s complicated –I almost drew up a flowchart to write this post–but the fluidity was intentional. When Allbrook, Watson and Ryan started Pond back in 2008, they wanted a collaborative band, one that could call on the creative input of many voices.
Pond may be on to something golden with their human alchemy. Pond take it a bit slower on their new record Hobo Rocket than the acid-y pop of their fantastically named 2008 debut Psychedelic Mango, 2010’s Frond or 2012’s excellent Beard, Wives Denim (which, deepening familial relations with Tame Impala even further, featured Tame’s leader Kevin Parker on a few tracks). The result is dense, ultra-heavy tracks like “Aloneaflameaflower” and the interstellar overdrive of “Giant Tortoise.” The latter, our song of the day, un-ironically and unpretentiously straddles psych and prog with a joy that’s sometimes lacking from both genres. You just want to stick your fist in the air and yell, “Hell yes!” when they lock into the heaviest parts with a biting, eastern-flavored riff (you’ll know it when you hear it). But there are also bits that’ll make you want to float in your own personal purple haze as well. On “Giant Tortoise,” and Hobo Rocket as a whole, Pond and the band’s ever-rotating cast of characters, have created something every psych-rock fan should be excited about.