Words By: Jordan Murray
Since the international press first took notice of Pond- ostensibly as they became to be referred to as Kevin Parker’s ‘other band’- they’ve rarely been shaken. In substance, they’re humbly indebted to the source material; nostalgic without being a throwback, traditional without being conservative. With “The Weather”, chief songwriter Nick Allbrook attempts to move away from expectations and embrace a grander and more ambitious sound.
Such efforts are evident from the start. On “30,000 Megatons,” “The Weather’s” suitably Trumpian-apocalyptic opener, Nick Allbrook rants about Kyle Sandilands over music that could easily be laughed off as lacking in self-awareness or simply overblown. But Allbrook’s characteristically suburban yelp stops it from becoming a space rock extravaganza without proper footing on earth; he’s just as easily ranting against Virgin flights to the moon whilst he’s taking off for the stratosphere. It sets the precedent for “The Weather” rather well, matching keen self-awareness with broad, dreamy compositions.
With songs like “A/B”, Pond aren’t making too clear a break from their hard rocking past, instead excelling at the riff-oriented mode of songwriting; that is, until the hard rocking is abruptly flipped into a maudlin piano-ballad. Elsewhere, as in highlight “Sweep Me Off My Feet,” they team up with Kevin Parker to render their songwriting with a kitschy sense of psych-pop revivalism. It’s in these moments of pop instincts that Pond excel: they flip a Foreigner hook in “Colder than Ice” and replace the piano plonks with a shuffling drum programming and washes of synthesizer. It makes for a clear standout, both from the album and for the band.
With all of that in mind, it would be easy to tag “The Weather” as experimental because it is eclectic. Truthfully, there’s only so far these guys can run away from themselves- they make a point of writing a song about a reel-to-reel tape-deck- and they can hardly be faulted for that. After all, it wouldn’t be Pond if it didn’t lumber like a dinosaur in every sense of the word. So, in the scheme of things, “The Weather” is less of an experiment than it is a consistent, grounded, and uproarious album; business as usual for Pond, really.