It was in May 2017 that Pond released their last full-length, a politically apt collection of face-melting guitar pop called The Weather. Where that album lamented the world’s imminent destruction at the hands of power-hungry capitalists, their new release Tasmania gives us something to do about it – celebrate.
If the world around us is indeed going up in flames – and look, that case can certainly be made right now – then instead of drowning in sorrow we must find splendour in what’s left. Tasmania is this and more, a euphoric collection of space-age opera that begs for hands-in-the-air merrymaking in the face of our environment’s last hurrah.
It’s the end of the world as Pond knows it, so why not make some noise? Tasmania is a swan song for a planet in flames, but don’t think for a second it won’t be glorious.
Although the basis for the album may sound bittersweet, sonically it leans far further towards the sweet end of the spectrum. In proper Pond fashion, Tasmania is rife with riffs and breakdowns other bands would deem self-indulgent or over the top, but in this case it’s nothing short of spectacular.
Almost every track bears these stratosphere breaking moments, from the guitar solo which outros the title track, to a truly mighty synth flourish in the dying moments of The Boys Are Killing Me, to basically the entirety of Burnt Out Star.
“She said “honey, what’s wrong?” and I said “what’s right?”, so we sailed off into the night…”
As time goes on, I find myself listening for Pond’s lyricism far more. There was some poetry in earlier albums like Beard, Wives, Denim or Hobo Rocket to be sure, albeit mixed in with a healthy serving of tripper’s shenanigans. When Man It Feels Like Space Again came out I turned it up and lost myself in the instrumentation, but on these last two albums I’ve naturally slipped into a far more lyric-centric listen.
Not to say the massive instrumental moments have gone anywhere – as mentioned they’re as in-your-face as ever – but perhaps Allbrook’s lyrics have finally elevated to that same level. The album’s thematics echo through the tracklist clear as day, and the whole ordeal is stronger for it.
A man who has a strong history in making dejection sound glamorous, it’s no surprise that Kevin Parker’s sheen drips through the album like melted neon. As with The Weather, the sum of Tasmania’s erratic parts are glued together like a mosaic; frenetic lead lines and Nick Allbrook’s electric vocals lassoed back to earth with expertly placed drum loops and Tame Impala-esque basslines.
Parker’s gloss and Allbrook’s wit are a potent combo, and given the space for each to flourish, the album puts Pond into sixth gear.
Tasmania is an interesting release in that it bears both what Pond fans will crave and something more; an elevated sense of self-awareness that the band are coming into more and more as their career progresses. Sometimes people don’t want to hear a political or an environmentally conscious album, they just want to bang their heads and walk away with their ears ringing. That’s entirely up to them.
But even more so that The Weather, Tasmania serves up the high-flying moments on a platter without taking the stage away from what Pond want to say.
Something for the trippers, something for the thinkers; so bonus points if you identify as both. Tasmania is at once Pond’s most thought-provoking and most face-melting album yet, possibly the most well-timed as well.
For anyone with an outward facing psyche can see what’s happening around us. Ice is melting, coral is bleaching, and trash islands are cresting. It weighs down on the conscious mind like lead, but what use is wallowing in our collective sorrow?
Countering the existential misery of the modern world, Pond have opted for fanfare and revelry on Tasmania. I’m sure as hell ready to join this party, even if it does mean the end of us all.
Tasmania is out now. Catch Pond live on the following dates:
Sunday 3 March – Astor Theatre, Perth (All Ages)
Tuesday 5 March – The Triffid, Brisbane (18+)
Wednesday 6 March – Metro Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)
Thursday 7 March – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne (18+)
Tickets available here.