Pond: Hobo Rocket (Modular)
Back with album number five, Tame Impala’s more feral cousins Pond unleash Hobo Rocket upon us. Louder Than War’s Harley Cassidy takes a listen.
In 2011, a chilled Jay Watson was interviewed swinging in a hammock (naturally) saying of Pond that “the aim of the band has changed considerably over time”. This must be an evolving motto for the Perth fivesome then as one album later, Tame Impala’s wilder, kookier side project/bit on the side have a new album to hold aloft to the world all Simba like.
With a 24/7 open flagon of creativity emitting the kind of chimerical, glam rock fumes that Temples can only dream about, Pond may have unglued themselves full time from the coolest band in the world but they seem to be getting along mighty fine all the same. You can only expect a certain amount of things from Pond: reverb laden vocals, sex drenched riffs and a constant segue of changing formations but in what embodiment nobody knows.
After the roaring success of an album that holds as much heftiness as Beard, Wives, Denim, for most bands there’s always the whispers of whether they can follow it up with something just as good or hell, better it. However for Pond, you just expect them to be five star don’t you? For good reason to. The bands fifth offering sits on a sturdy layer of scorching guitars and heavyweight drumming, making it not so far removed from further archived albums like Frond. Hobo Rocket seems to be an extension and fabrication of all Pond’s previous work, shooting out that winning formula but with an effervescent, expansive creativity that only homebred Australians seem to be mastering at the moment.
The funny thing about all these “neo-psychedelic”, “hallucinogenic” bands recently is that whilst most would compare them to some far-out 60s, British Invasion or Woodstock conquering band, the roots, vocals and style of bands like Foxygen or Tame is far more suited to 70s glam rock. Xanman is fucking glam rock, there’s no beating around the bush. The riffs are pacey, glorious and at times downright filthy; something plucked straight from Bolan’s afro. Even lyrics like “back in the van with my head in my hands and I wail like a broken toy” are more darker and aphotic than the otherworldly rumination of an acid induced trip.
That’s not to say that Pond can’t do cosmic, warped out numbers either: Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide? is practically schizophrenic in composition. Starting off galaxy bound then being took over by a bass driven by George Michael’s Faith. Nothing stays the same for long as that infamous dirty guitar makes a spectacular show stopping appearance aided by Cam Avery’s frenetic drumming finally elaborating into one of the most exhilarating, drawn out coda’s of 2013.
The epic Giant Tortoise broils slow and ethereal when Nick has his way with the vocals but Jay doesn’t let that last for long, burning a hole through proceedings with yet another trusty Pond-can-produce-almighty-riffs-in-their-sleep banger. Aloneaflameaflower is another riff happy number, this time sleepier and sinister than the others. Dragging its feet for two minutes, the track suddenly kickstarts into a thrashing garage punk track adorned with Jack White vocals and a quicktime rhythm section before slowburning back to its former self.
The toned down number on the album comes in the shape of O Dharma, a 70s spangled ditty with an easy tempo, sweet harmonies and tranquil, soothing feel after the urgent, sexual rampage that tears through Hobo Rocket. Harking back to something that could have graced Abbey Road or Dark Side Of The Moon the track greatly compliments what Pond have to offer when they grow tiresome of showing off.
Tame Impala are reaching new heights with a style of music that people are growing very excited about however it’s unfair to cast Pond as just one part of the cadre. Having the sheer guts to steer away from Tame shows just how judicious the band can be and how bloody good the results are from it. Tame Impala might be ruling left, right and centre at the moment but Pond are the dark horses and with another album supposedly already to be put out, who knows what else they can pull from their bag of tricks.