The Weather takes us into an unexpected conversation. Although confidently known for their alt-psych sound, POND’s latest album fuses distinct political lyricism with unabashedly uplifting pop.
Perhaps in efforts to juxtapose the two, the ten-track album compartmentalises samples from the news against their glorious lilting synth and the aching, unmistakable sound of Nicholas Allbrook.
The Weather from POND is album built on knowing, confident musicianship and lyrical wit, but based around a fragile system whose purpose we know not.
Produced by a man who really needs no introduction, the one and only Kevin Parker, Tame Impala frontman and long-time collaborator to Allbrook and indeed to POND. Anything Parker touches turns to… Kevin Parker, and this album is no exception. His consistency is unmatched, somehow turning that ever-memorable rolling ethereal synth into something completely different every time.
Key tracks include 30000 Megatons, a melancholy political ballad filled with the promise of total world destruction and cleverly injected cultural references, softened by Allbrook’s haunting and electric vocals.
The Weather takes on a different character in the next three tracks, Sweep Me Off My Feet, Paint Me Silver and Cold As Ice (which happily features Kirin J Callinan) are all tacked together with a thread of blippy, romantic pop which doesn’t fail to make your head lift a little.
The lack of narrative and cohesion in style seems to be purely intentional, feeding into the notion of how we as a society are somewhat falling apart. The quick and casual drop of the word ‘penis’ into Sweep Me Off My Feet, proves to us that we are still dealing with music nerds of old, still unapologetically themselves.
Two part track Edge of the World ties the rest of the album together with an instrumental complexity that POND seems pick up and run with in the most natural of fashions. Both are generous in length, sitting around five and six and a half minutes respectively. That engaging and wistful contemplation POND triggers in their listeners is back with a vengeance.
The entirety of the album is built on a meditative state, contemplating the infuriating nature of today’s political and social climate. One cannot help but feel simultaneously enraged and enthralled. It’s an album built on knowing, confident musicianship and lyrical wit, but based around a fragile system whose purpose we know not.
Title track The Weather wavers and swells with vocal effects, staying true to the theme of space age pop. It does, in a strange way, sound like ‘credits rolling’. A cracker of a finish.
Although not stepping too far away from the sound we know and love, The Weather does push the intent of their album away from the expected. As sonically engaging and well articulated as one can only expect from Allbrook’s work, it’s not my favourite POND release but it shows a side of the Perth band that is a little cheekier than I expected.
The Weather is out May 5.