The Weather by PondRelease date: May 5, 2017
Label: Marathon Artists
Pond have always been an interesting proposition, even more so when compared to their more popular cohorts Tame Impala (of which they share members). Their wayward psychedelia takes on the cod Flaming Lips sound that Tame Impala aped on their early albums, and runs it straight down the avenue called “far out”. This leads to an effervescent mix of noise which throws up some random genius moments. It can also have a tendency to fall flat on its face if done wrong.
The Weather carries on this sound and whilst that style of psych may be getting a little tired, Pond nonetheless deliver the goods in remarkable style here. From collaged trip outs to soulful excursions they simply cruise along with hardly a step wrong. It’s nothing they haven’t done before, but the joy in which they do it is infectious, almost beautiful.
For a feel-good album of the summer it’s therefore surprising to hear it begin with what sounds suspiciously like a Christmas song. ‘All I Want For Xmas’ may not be the Mariah Carey evergreen annoyance, but it does include what sounds like chattering monkeys in the background. If that isn’t enough to draw you on then you need to question your lust for life.
The super soulful ‘Colder Than Ice’ may not quite be the Foreigner AOR classic but it does seem to recognise a kinship in its delivery. Behind the trippy facade is actually a bunch of songs which may be making a play for radio and in better days we could be singing these on a road trip to the sea. There’s that wonderful sunny feeling, always with a melancholic undertone, the kind which Brian Wilson invented, being brought to life here.
‘Edge Of The World’ displays a more experimental edge over its two parts showing Pond still understand that need to expand your mind. Rather than being of a heavy, drug enhanced feeling, it’s of a more natural high though, and this helps set them aside from the rest of the psych herd. There’s a superior sensibility no doubt raised a few levels by the excellent production that makes this album such an enticing high.
It’s when they straddle that line between psych, pop and dance floor that they really come to life though. Both ‘Paint Me Silver’ and the glitterball pop of ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ make a play for our hearts and feet and succeed even if they do feel slightly off kilter and old hat. It is here where Pond can make a dull idea come to life and when they peak they are nothing less than life-affirming.
Pond may be old hands at this game now but on the basis of The Weather they’re certainly not finished yet. An album of sweet highs and delicious lows, they avoid the over sickly psych that is prevalent with this kind of sound and deliver an album which may well be recognised as the defining sound of the summer. Much more exciting than Tame Impala, it would be marvelous to see them achieve the same kind of recognition.