If when listening to Peace on Venus, the latest album from Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond, it sounds like they’ve been there before, it is because they have. The group was formed in 1991 and this release marks the group’s ninth studio album. This is to say nothing of the countless side projects the various band members have participated in. In the world of whatever the hell “post-rock” exactly is, Bardo Pond is a mainstay.
And their relative comfort comes through on the album. The songs wind along carelessly, but are not altogether aimless. They wander, but inevitably towards something, often testing our patience. The clichéd lyrics “everything will be alright” are even thrown around early. And while that phrase may be overused, it carries a little more meaning coming from an established lot like Bardo Pond.
“Kali Yuga Blues” is the opener, and in this case “blues” doesn’t appear to carry the grave despair we’re accustomed to. In the ambient staggering of guitars, these blues aren’t being readily avoided (it’s hard to tell if they’re concerned about at all). When you consider that Kali Yuga is the Hindu belief in the last stages of the world that may last over 400,000 years, it’s not hard to imagine why. There will be plenty of time for despair later, let’s just rock now.
“Fir” turns up the knobs on the distortion and droning while “Chance” mixes a lovely acoustic guitar and flute duo into the electric instruments, but with a certain touch that avoids clumsiness. As with much of the music of this genre, Peace on Venus can reach the point of exhausting, almost losing the listener to a trance at times. But Bardo Pond shakes a lot of the convention and varies their sound enough to cut through the haze.
MP3: Bardo Pond “Fir”