REVIEW: Pond – ‘Hobo Rocket’

Pond

Artist: Pond
Album: Hobo Rocket
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Indie, Space Rock
Label: Modular Recordings

Anymore, it feels as though all things music have been coming from Australia. Pond, a group of psychedelic rockers from Perth have been no stranger to the indie-rock scene. If their psychedelic vibes remind you of a similar Australia outfit named Tame Impala, you wouldn’t be too far off. Pond’s lead singer, Nick “Paisley Adams” Allbrook, was the former touring bassist of Tame Impala until he recently announced his departure earlier this year (Tame Impala’s brainchild Kevin Parker has also been involved in Pond’s past work).

Modular Records decided to remain loyal to Allbrook, and teamed up for the release of their latest effort, Hobo Rocket. The band’s fifth studio album is an excellent one, and offers a more progressive vibe than their last album, Beard, Wives, Denim. While there are still shades of Tame Impala on every inch of this album, this comparison may be escapable due to the genre they both fall into. However, it seems as though Pond have begun to differentiate themselves on Hobo Rocket more so than they’ve done in the past.

Songs like opener “Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide,” and “Aloneaflameaflower” deliver rock riffs you’d hear on any classic rock radio station. In fact, Pond has done an excellent job at reproducing this sound so excellently that it’d be difficult to tell the difference. What really sets this band apart is their ability to produce tracks which contain infectious riffs, along side slower tempo ones with beautiful and spacious vocal harmonies. Many other artists fall into the trap of getting too comfortable and or one dimensional, however this doesn’t appear to be the case for Pond.

Fortunately for both the listener and the band, the album’s downfall happens towards the end. The album’s title track, “Hobo Rocket,” is easily the most confusing track I’ve heard on an album in recent memory. From what I can gather, the band grabbed a hobo or bum from off the street, stuck him in the recording booth, and told him “go at it.” On the plus side, the instrumental is fantastic and could have made for an excellent addition to the tracklisting with the proper vocal arrangement. “Midnight Mass” is also another glaring weak spot on the album. The track feels as though the idea or concept for this record never fully came to fruition. On the other hand, the song’s outro does provide the same elements from earlier in the record, which gives this closer salvageability.

If you’re a fan of new MGMT or Tame Impala, I’d highly suggest this album. There are certainly times where you’d almost want to dust off the old Guitar Hero, and jam out to these great tempo changes and riffs. After hearing this album, Allbrook’s departure from Tame Impala doesn’t seem TOO crazy (even though Tame Impala are on the upswing), and if anything it makes sense. Tame Impala and Pond are not the same band. They are two totally different artists with different visions. If Pond continues to produce engaging music, there is no doubt they will be able to separate themselves from the consistent comparison over time.

Score: 8/10
Review by: Mike Sacchetti (Twitter)

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