Over the last decade or so, the progressive scene in Australia seems to have gained strength and confidence and spread its tendrils across the globe, with Tame Impala and Karnivool making great strides out of the southern hemisphere with vastly different but equally thought-provoking music. Maybe it’s all that sunshine encouraging them to bloom.
Pond’s multi-instrumentalist Jay Watson and frontman/multi-instrumentalist Nick Allbrook have both come from the Tame Impala finishing school (the former is still a full-time member of both bands). But while Pond share some of their dreamlike psychedelia, they have followed their own path, a journey that continues in fine style on their seventh release.
Allbrook has described The Weather as a concept album “not completely about Perth, but focusing on all the weird contradictory things that make up a lot of colonial cities around the world. Laying out all the dark things underneath the shimmering exterior of cranes, development, money and white privilege. It’s not our place, but it is our place. British, but Australian, but not real Australian. On the edge of the world with a hell of a lot of fucked things defining our little city, still we try and live a wholesome respectful life, while being inherently disrespectful. At the end of all this confusion in our weird little white antipodean world, there’s the beach, purity and nature that brings us all together.”
It may sound lofty, and it is thought-provoking, but there’s something tangibly primal about it. The gorgeous lead single Sweep Me Off My Feet, in particular, is a lush and lusty plea for love that beats with a truly human heart and something of a Prince strut, and it’s the moment when their heritage in Tame Impala is most palpable. But then Colder Than Ice sweeps in from the other, darker side of the spectrum, a fittingly chilly, robotic trip that brings in a deeply 80s sense of every man for himself, wrapped up in that decade’s most instantly placeable sounding call, the saxophone. Doom-laden opener 30,000 Megatons, meanwhile, prickles with a kind of cold war paranoia, preparing for the oncoming nuclear apocalypse in a manner that seems all-too plausible in the politically insane and deeply unstable era we’ve been plunged into.
On first listen, you never know where the journey will take you next, from the monkey noises hooting under All I Want For Xmas (not a Mariah Carey cover, obviously) to the woozy, cosmic drama of Edge Of The World Part 2 that begins with a Flaming Lips snuggle and builds its way up to a theatrical Pink Floyd finale, each song connected with old fashioned radio dial-surfing. Dive in, The Weather is lovely.