Pond: The Weather

The influence on Pond’s latest album, The Weather, is obvious; Kevin Parker’s addition to the production and engineering of the band’s seventh studio album accentuates the neo- 60’s psychedelic feel as well as the jagged, contrasting array of songs. Using irony, Pond delivers absolute poetry in this well-balanced album.

The whole album is full of contradictions, even lyrically. Within the opening track, “30000 Megatons,” Nick Allbrook pairs sublime beauty of the moon and vastness of space with Tinder, a dating app. The lyrics’ sentiment are similar to those by Wayne Coyne, referencing the amplitude of the world surrounding just one, miniscule individual.

Allbrook sings, “… if I was the man on the Moon, I wouldn’t let us near // I’d stand on a crater with my shotgun to the sky // and leave us to our mines and our Tinder ‘til we die // and the Earth will sigh, and the Moon will wipe its brow.” The build towards the end involves breaking voices and building synthesizers and filtered guitar, with robotic vocoder and a rapid electronic kick drum pounding each beat.

Through the poppy facade and falsettos of “Sweep Me off My Feet,” and “Paint Me Silver” protrude prodding honesty and self-referential humor. Slightly detuned and abrasive synths are layered with cloud-nine, Tame Impala’s Currents-style synths and bells to create an 80’s pop ballad with neo-psychedelia sprinkled within.

Vocally teetering between the Gibb brothers and Depeche mode, the speaker admits to not being “bold or cool or masculine,” claiming that “between [his] penis and [his] chin is Camembert and shame,” but he “used to be elegantly thin.” This meekly confident sort of honesty is another paradox of social commentary, as well as creative physical imagery.

The Weather moves along this theme of causes greater than itself, but begins descent into slapstick within the second half. For such a serious topic as methamphetamine abuse, as the news report sample at the end of “Colder Than Ice” suggests, the lyrics are incredibly satirical. The repeated use of the stuttering bromide “C-C-C Colder than ice,” is far more compelling after multiple listens.

In “Edge of the World, Pt. 1,” Pond dips into yet another psych persona, crooning “we’re all just a waste of good meat.” The song proceeds with Floydian melodies and Andrew Van Wyngarden-style vocals, fuzzy guitars and crunchy, distorted guitars that build to the noise-rock beginning of “A/B.” The speaker is “too apathetic to defend my heterosexuality // but [will] not lie here on my phone while being fucked by the Man,” an anti-establishment statement that is thematic throughout the album.

The reversed samples in “Zen Automation” carry lyrics like “julienne my frontal lobe,” and when the reversed beat comes in during the line, “send me to the wild to eat and fuck and fuck and eat,” the lyrics burst into the foreground. From here brass instruments compose a jazzy interlude breathing natural sounds into the highly electronic and affected album.

Stadium-style jams like “All I Want for Xmas (Is a Tascam 388),” have heavy Parker influence, with his eye for detailed work, intensifying Pond’s looser style.

Even though projects like Pond and Tame Impala created musical personas based on psychedelic archetypes, The Weather, helps listeners to understand that these artists are beginning to create an archetype of their own, adding to and complicating what it means to be a psychedelic rock band. Lyrically questioning authority, and musically questioning what it means to be a band, though their use of sampling and electronic sounds.

Rating: 8.7/10

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