"It's spring, I'm a cherry blossom sprout" is the line opening this album, in a dreamy Lana Del Rey on Peyote vibe, before Pond U-turn into Empire of The Sun and kick off the party with ‘Daisy’. The band, often compared to Tame Impala - with whom they have shared several members in the past and now co-producer Kevin Parker - are currently on the cusp of releasing their 8th studio effort, Tasmania.
The LP is a declaration of love, a going-back-to-the-roots, a bucolic dream of Australia. ‘Burnt Out Star’ perhaps best captures this feeling with its dreamy vocals and spaced-out synths à la Foxygen-meets-Spiritualized and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie.
Tasmania could be considered the manifesto of the Australian psych-pop trademark sound, that over the last decade revolutionised independent music, from Empire of the Sun to Tame Impala. And if there's a thing Pond seem not to like, it’s repeating themselves - bless these kinds of artists. As already witnessed by their previous album The Weather, the band moved on from the mere neo-psych of 2015’s Man It Feels Like Space Again and now keep on exploring new soundscapes.
Kevin Parker provides the album with a glossy, pop production that projects Pond well beyond their niche audience and into radio stations. Exactly like he has progressively done with Tame Impala. Whether the production is the added value or not it's uncertain. The songs seem to lose their full psych-glam potential in favour of washed-out pop hooks. The risk is reducing the vision of Pond to a side project for Tame Impala drop-outs, a musical divertissement.
Who knows? Better lie on a grass field and let the sun rays hit your eyelids to project the colours of the rainbow into your shut eyes while Pond's hazy Tasmanian landscapes run wild through your imagination.
Tasmania is released on 1 March 2019 via Marathon Artists.