POND The Weather gets 9/10

POND
The Weather
EMI

9/10

Perth’s very own Tame Impala might well be stomping its way to success like an elephant, but in its wake has come another musical force to be reckoned with… Pond. 

With creative DNA (as well as personnel) in common, Pond and Tame Impala are often viewed as a pair, with the former consistently relegated to side-project status. But across six increasingly self-assured studio albums, Pond have proven they are very much the real deal. 

Blazing through the ether, the band’s seventh album The Weather continues this upward trajectory via music that repeatedly delights and astounds. 

While producer and Tame Impala main man Kevin Parker’s pop sensibilities find their way onto the record, they never impinge on Pond’s spaced-out oddity. Like a puckish piper, frontman Nick Allbrook imbues the songs with a strange magic thanks to his unique phrasing and unaffected accent. Nowhere is this impish charm more apparent than on opening track 30000 Megatons, which sees end-of-the-world melodrama dialled all the way to 11.  Not since David Bowie’s Five Years has a song kicked off an album with such gloriously operatic abandon. 

And like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, The Weather has a thematic binding that pulls all the pieces together. Taking its cues from the concept album format, Allbrook and co have fashioned a suite of songs from the stuff of real life, one found just outside their own window.

Along with explicit references to local scourges such as ice (track four, Colder Than Ice, samples audio from television news reports) and Gina Rinehart, there are also the more subtle evocations of sun, surf and sand. And with Allbrook’s sky-god vocals floating down from the heavens, we have yet another elemental phenomenon added to the mix. After all this, what we end up with is the ultimate Perth-inspired (perhaps only) concept album. 

For an album that contains two tracks entitled Edge of the World (parts 1 and 2, anchoring their respective ‘sides’ of the record), The Weather positively radiates with warmth. It’s hard to feel down with all this shimmering light bursting through the storm-clouds. Whether it be the 80s dance and electronic sounds pumping  from the keyboards or the sun-drenched washes of psychedelic guitar we’ve come to know and love, the experience of listening to the album is one of emphatic euphoria.

This is a musical journey you’ll never want to end. 

CHRIS PRINDIVILLE

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