When you’re nine albums into your illustrious career, the rule book is well and truly out the window. On their new record 9, Perth psych-rockers Pond are mixing it up, delivering one of their most focused efforts to date. Produced by Pond and mixed by Jay Watson and James Ireland, 9 flips the groundwork set on their last three records, on its head. Returning to the experimental and divisive psych-rock sonics of their earlier years. In doing so, the band have offered up one of their most curated body of works to date, focusing on concise and effective lyricism and soundscapes.
Opening with the choral filled Song for Agnes, Pond dive head first into the multi-textural journey set out on the record. Bombarding you with distorted guitars, engulfing synths, chaotic percussion and some smooth sax, the track is a treat for your ears. Weaving together all these elements, you’re instantly wrapped within the realm of 9, with frontman Nick Allbrook’s vocals leading you down the twisted polychromatic road to Pond-erland. The previously released Human Touch continues the anarchy, with crunchy guitars and audacious vocals stomping throughout, with hints of techno. Conceptually, the song was inspired by a conversation Allbrook had with a woman named Josie, who attempted to recruit him in her plans for grand theft auto, which could be why Human Touch sounds like the perfect song to blast in the getaway car.
We take a funky turn in the getaway car with, America’s Cup. Sprinkling notes of new-wave dance-rock throughout, whilst challenging societal views of masculinity, the song builds to a shimmering chorus, heralded by an infectious bass line. Pink Lunettes keeps us on the dance floor, with its frenzied production that feels like an INXS track recontexualised to suit the underground night life. The second half of the energetic cut leads us into the second half of the record, with the scattershot Czech Locomotive taking a new road in the getaway car to Ponderland, hitting the accelerator with five minutes of zesty performances. On Rambo, we’ve well and truly arrived at our destination, with brighter sonics and melodies championed by Allbrook’s layered vocals and an instrumental ending that leave you wanting more.
Gold Cup / Plastic Sole opens with the drama of a Queen composition, with Allbrook’s spellbinding vocals capturing your attention before dizzying riffs warp themselves across the track. Closing with Toast, the band deliver the ultimate psych-ballad, as we come out on the other side of Pond-erland. Leaning into calmer sonics, laced with moving synths and strings, the song was inspired by the devastating bushfires that ravaged through the east coast of Australia during the summer of 2019-2020, and the social inequality observed by Allbrook in his childhood.
Laced with tongue-in-cheek lyricism that provides as many entertaining one liners as it does introspective examination, the band have created a body of work that will fuel the fire within their fanbase, whilst welcoming in a new age of listeners. There’s a more open approach to creating and writing, with their process for this record embedded within each track. The five-piece went into making this album wanting a change, improvising tracks on tape reels which were then moulded and curated down into the collection of songs we hear today. This new way of working proved wonders, with Pond delivering a shining moment within their triumphant musical treasure trove.
9 is out now!