Just as the sun revolves around the Earth, so does the nation’s psychedelic pop scene revolve around Pond. Formed in 2008 after good friends Joseph Ryan, Nick Allbrook and Jay Watson hit upon the idea of an all inclusive, ego-free collaborative, the boys immediately recorded their debut album Psychedelic Mango with a little help from good friend Kevin Parker. Not content to sit on their laurels – Pond followed up less than a year later with Corridors of Blissterday, a frenzied effort recorded live with an eight piece band at some point (nobody seems to remember exactly when) in 2009. Next up was Frond, their third album released in 2010 on the back of a serious Prince and Fleetwood Mac binge. This was the point at which things really began to kick off for the lads. Frond was a kaleidoscopic classic, dripping with funk and falsetto which hinted at the fact that Pond was maybe a little more than just a footloose collective of ridiculously talented young men.
Enter: Beard, Wives, Denim. Cue: Widespread mind explosions.
Recorded on a farm a few hours South-West of Perth, Beard, Wives, Denim is like one of those old fashioned documents unique in the fact that it couldn't possibly have been made by anyone else, at any other time. Like Regurgitator's Unit or The Avalanches Since I Left You, it's a record born of the eccentricities and small geniuses of the individual members, yet delivered as a deeply satisfying and hugely inclusive whole. Kicking off with the driving pop of “Fantastic Explosion of Time”, turning left at fuzz junkie funk on “Moth Wings” and landing in a back porch rocking chair with “Moreno's Blend”, Beard, Wives, Denim is a triumph of the eclecticism and good humour that drives everything Pond do.
Unsurprisingly, upon the album's release in March last year, ears all around the world pricked up and started to take notice. The band hit North America playing 31 shows including 8 at South by South West - where they were one of the most talked about bands of the festival, lauded by the likes of Stereogum and the New York Times. From there, they returned home to Australia and into a sold out national tour before unleashing their mighty live show upon the UK and Europe, causing the NME to tout them as the “hottest band in the world right now” as well as proclaiming Beard, Wives, Denim as “quite possibly the best album released to far this year”.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, in August 2013, Pond gifted to the world their 5th LP in as many years, Hobo Rocket. Recorded in July last year, mid-Australian tour on the back of their US, UK and European adventures, Hobo Rocket is 40 minutes of imperfectly perfect emotion, aligning with the band’s MO to capture the intensity and rawness of a Pond live show. As anyone who has experienced this will tell you, it’s pretty much like a punch in the face. A punch that you really really really freaking enjoy.
Nick describes the release as "…kind of mindset of finding our own little place in music, and being more of a functioning band, which is what makes it noisier and denser. This one we went as brutally hard as we would at a show. We wanted the songs to sound loose and live."
Singles “Xanman” and “Giant Tortoise” have been gathering airplay around the world like snowballs in an avalanche and the accolades and praise are following suit.
All of this ain’t too shabby for a band dreamed up one afternoon under a mulberry tree. With the next album, Man It Feels Like Space Again already written and recorded (in true Pond style just one month after Hobo Rocket was released) it won't be long until we see the next chapter in this remarkable triumph of just playing it cool.
With 2013’s Day Of The Dog LP Chicago’s Ezra Furman became a must see live act and critical darling in the US & UK. His new LP Perpetual Motion People, out now on Bella Union, is Furman’s magnum opus. Outsider music with a pop sensibility, it touches on depression and gender fluidity. Extensive touring with his band the Boy Friends in the UK and Europe has built a reputation as one of the most exciting live acts around. Ezra's emotional honesty, howling intensity, frailty and humour combined with the bands honking rock'n'roll have proved irresistible.