The Australian Psychedelic rock group Pond have released their sixth album, Man it Feels Like Space Again. Pond are the front, left and center of the Australian Psychedelic Pop scene. They put the fun in the psychedelic genre. The band is characterized by high energy and their cracking wise demeanor. The initial idea behind Pond’s formation was to get anyone they wanted to play whatever they wanted on a collaborative ever changing musical project. The biggest misconception about Pond is they are a Tame Impala’s offshoot, when it is the other way around. Pond and the Impalas have shared three band members, but only one member of the Tame Impalas has not been a member of Pond. Take note if you don’t care for Psychedelic music you need to move along because Pond is quintessentially a Psychedelic band.
Pond has an ever changing lineup; the current four man combo is made up of Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Joe Ryan, and Julian Barbagallo. Man it Feels Like Space Again was recorded in Collingwood, Melbourne. Allbrook, Watson and Ryan co wrote all the songs. Pond is not very tied down when writing instead it is a very loose flowing endeavor. On this release like many of their prior recordings, there is the pulled around trippy percussion and quintuple tracked vocals that are hallmarks of their songs.
The band has tasted success with early efforts like their first LP Psychedelic Mango in 2009, which was a trippy journey through pop. The 2010 release Frond moved in a more heavily pop direction. The 2012 release Beard, Wives, Denim has garnered the most popular notice for the ensemble. That release also gaining critical acclaim for the band and they were named by NME as the Hottest New Band in the World. Where stable mate Tame Impala has headed for the more beaten popular path, Pond has stayed firmly on the Psychedelic pop path, and if anything has doubled down with Man it Feels Like Space Again. The release can be described as a very pleasant acid trip without the nasty flashbacks. It is smooth psychedelic for the 21st century, with hat tips to Flaming Lips and Todd Rungren. To truly enjoy this release one must enter into the mindset of Pond, which is a best described as a harmless space journey into one’s cranium. Just remember to change the bong water before setting forth.
Waiting for Grace is Pond in all their psychedelic goodness. Fun abounds as the spaceship in the intro lands to the tripped out vocals. This song is an encapsulated 70’s glam pop time machine arrived in the 21st century. There are great wonky keyboards, and the song is totally tasty. It sounds in parts like a slowed down take on The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz”. Punchy percussion on Elvis Flaming Star is a perfect counterbalance to the reverb filled vocal. It is another stellar track on the disc. The oscillating tempo makes for an engaging off kilter song.
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The psych/pop ballad Hold Out for You has its mood set by the guitar play. The echo like vocal makes for a dreamy track. It reminded me a lot of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Zond is a bouncy song with lots of energy and a funky driving bass line with somewhat garbled lyrics. A very pulled around sounding song. It feels like an accompaniment to an interplanetary space journey with very friendly aliens as guides.
What can I say about Heroic Shart? This song had me at the title’s use of the term “Shart”. The word forever memorialized by the movie “Along Came Polly” as explained by none other than the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character Sandy Lyle. This very eccentric song seems to be describing the misfortunate event taken from the perspective of the average colon. Never let it be said that the lads from Pond don’t have a sense of humor.
Sitting Up on our Crane is a track that is in contrast to the beginning of the album. A more crisply produced song; it inhabits a wide clear soundscape. The layered vocals produce this ethereal floating sound. The song does go on a bit long. Personally less would have been more.
The glitchy intro Outside is the Right Side throws a head fake as it then swings into this very funky track. It is distilling some serious Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament vibes into the “stand out” song of the recording. This is a seriously cool song, with tons of wah wah pedal.
Medicine Hat sounds like the reconvening of “The Band” if Bob Dylan was on acid while singing out front. The song is a marriage of country rock and folk with a pinch of psychedelic. On paper the track would seem out of place on such a quirky psychedelic disc but it actually fits quite nicely and trips out at the end.
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The final song giving the disc its title, Man it Feels Like Space Again could be the music for a farewell ceremony as Pond embark onto their celestial spacecraft heading back to a slightly narcotic planet they inhabit. The layered vocals and gear shifting tempo delivers everything you would expect from a song with this title. It is the epitome of trippy psychedelic goodness in an 8 plus minute song.
Without a doubt Man if Feels Like Space Again is psychedelic music in all it’s hallucinogenic glory. With this disc Pond certainly cuts the cords that have attached them to their brother band Tame Impala. It is not the deepest recording, and there is not a lot of introspection, but it is an enjoyable listen. There is only one Pond, and if you feel inclined towards the psychedelic then this is an album for you.