What a timely release this is, given the current apocalyptic weather. The premise for Pond‘s latest album, ‘Tasmiania’, came about when lead singer Nick Albrook got chatting to an environmental scientist over some pints. “He showed me this temperature projection of the next hundred years in Australia,’ Nick told NME, “and it basically just goes gradually more and more red and purple, and then into unliveable territory. The last inhabitable space is Tasmania”.
Swooning into life with ‘Daisy’, a epic, orchestral raising of the album’s curtains, the record wastes little time in decamping to the island, and throwing the pre-apocalyptic party to end all parties. “I might go and shack up in Tasmania before the ozone goes / And paradise burns in Australia, who knows?,” ponders Albrook on the title track. On ‘Hand Mouth Dancer’, he questions the difference that another bloke speaking on politics can realistically make. “I’m no hero; just do my hand mouth dance,” goes one couplet, making reference to the European refugee crisis: “[This is ] for all the actual heroes, dying to get the kids to France”. That said, Pond don’t claim to have the answers – instead ‘Tasmania’ is interchangeably pessimistic, doom-filled, loved-up, hopeful, and resigned to the fate of the planet.
Co-produced once again by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Pond’s close association with their very famous one-time drummer sometimes leaves them billed as a wilder Tame Impala side-project; the campy space rock spin-off from Parker’s mainstream-infiltrating psych. With ‘Tasmania’ those comparisons should more or less fade away; though the record bears a couple of similarities with Tame Impala’s own ‘Currents’, it’s more playful, and less meticulous in its approach.
There’s a range here that spans far beyond gloopy and glam. Albrook goes full warbling balladeer on ‘Shame’ and ‘Burnt Out Star’, his voice clear and high in the mix. Closing track ‘Doctor’s In’ is a ominous instrumental countdown, and ‘Sixteen Days’ borders on sultry. Ridiculously ambitious – and often plain ridiculous – ‘Tasmania’ dances its way to impending doom.