Featured Photo by Pooneh Ghana
Pond are the frazzled, sunburnt sibling to Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala. Sort of the weirder, more far-out version of Parker’s majestic and pristine psych pop behemoths. Each band has been around the same time, with members sharing spots within each band. Pond leader Nic Holbrook was part of Tame Impala from 2009 to 2013, while Jay Watson remains a member of both bands. Perth, Australia seems to be a place on earth that folks just seem to get the psych pop world, as Pond and Tame Impala both come from the area.
Up to this point, Pond has always been a little wilder and more woolly than Tame Impala. Their albums were more all over the place, bringing to mind what would happen if Frank Zappa had decided to write an acid-burnt record of bubblegum pop bathed in the seedier aspects of late-60s underground music. But now with Pond’s newest record Tasmania, lead singer Nic Holbrook and company, along with Tame Impala wunderkind Kevin Parker producing, have stepped into the light of modern sounds and slick production. The results are a band stepping up to their full potential without giving up any of the weirdness that made them stand out.
Think of this album as Pond’s Currents. Kevin Parker helps Pond produce a super slick studio album with Tasmania; mixing psych pop, 80s production, and R&B funk into the Perth collective’s usual far-out sound. Parker stepped up his own sonic game on Tame Impala’s 2015 masterpiece Currents, and he wants to share those production wealths.
Title track “Tasmania” shows the most when it comes to Kevin Parker’s deft touches. Huge rhythms section, subtle 80s synth vibes, and Holbrook’s white boy soul comes thru huge here. If it was 1987, this would be a radio hit. “Hand Mouth Dancer” is a club banger. Techno synths, four-on-the-floor percussion, and as far away from burnt psych pop as it gets. It’s about as far away from Hobo Rocket and Man It Feels Like Space Again as it could get. Lead single “Daisy” is pure majestic pop in the vein of Spiritualized mixing it up with The Fixx.
I’d compare the sonic and sound changes on Tasmania to what happened to the Flaming Lips on something like The Soft Bulletin. They still remain true to themselves, but are conveying their music with new sounds and bigger production. It’s a music journey began on 2017s The Weather. Tasmania is Pond truly stepping out.
7.6 out of 10