Video: POND – Elvis’ Flaming Star

POND have always been a band with a penchant for the theatrical song titles. “Betty Davis (Will Come Down From the Heavens to Save Us” anyone? But this time round, “Elvis’ Flaming Star” is a succinct and powerful name, in the exact same way the song in question is.

Once again POND are stretching themselves into another gooey form, a psychedelic shapeshifter, and this time round, they’re like Saturn’s version of David Bowie. That’s not just because of the alien goggles and barrage of coloured slime in the video either. They’re euphoric and funky, breaking the rules in a glammy and extraordinary way the same way Bowie did way back when. And they’re doing it in this completely alien fashion, dissolved and freaky sounding from the core. Chuck that “Bohemian Rhapsody”-like roller coaster theatrics next to a video of VHS madness consisting of nature beating the shit out of man, and POND’s galavanting return is a welcome one. They make psych music not boring, and that’s a feat a lot harder than it sounds like.

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Album Review: POND-Hobo Rocket

ImageThis is the album that I have been waiting with baited breath for, for quite some time as well. POND, for those that don’t keep up with Perth’s psychedelic scene with the precision of myself (shame on you, lift your fucking game), are a collective of musicians that are all linked by their unabated prowess at rockin’ dicks off, and blowing minds. POND is made up of Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry, and Cam Avery. Because I don’t think I’ll be able to drop it in later, here’s a bunch of the other bands that these guys play in, which are more worth checking out than that new Seth Rogen movie: Allbrook/Avery, The Growl, Shiny Joe Ryan, Mink Mussel Creek, Gum, and The Silents. I hear Nick Allbrook’s solo shit is also worth a geez. Anyway, BACK TO THE HOBO ROCKET-CAVE!

‘Hobo Rocket’ is everything you could want in a loud, friendly, abrasive, grinding psychedelic album. It’s more forward thinking than ‘Bitches Brew’. Yes, I just compared a explosion of pysch flavour and colour to a jazz magnum opus, widely considered to being a landmark in musical revolution. So, maybe I could perhaps be overstating the importance of ‘Hobo Rocket’. However, I will firmly stick by the statement that it is one of the most important rock records released this year, and one of the best records released in recent Australian music history. Better even than the two Tame Impala records. Yes, in my eyes, POND have succeeded the role of little brother to Kevin Parker, and graduated to the top of the pile. A bold claim, sure to confuse, if not anger plenty of people. But hear me the fuck out you enthusiasts of the righteous pysch, as I lay down a few reasons why ‘Hobo Rocket’ might just be the coolest thing to hit your ears in a long time.

Everything on ‘Hobo Rocket’ is executed with a total unabashed flourish, and gnarly pomp. It’s a gruelling, gruesome and gargantuan visitation through time, the sounds on display warping and freaking out with vicious continuous griping. It’s a record that never stumbles, only focused on being as loose and insane as it possible can. It swaggers around in a daze of pot smoke and neon lights, shitting where it pleases, and never feeling the need to apologise or explain itself. It’s straight up fucking glorious, and the best part is, it doesn’t even try a bit. Its the king of the castle, and the dirty rascal, and, to quote ‘O Dharma’, ‘…and if you motherfuckers don’t like it, you can get out’. (mark my words, this will be the next ‘Mind Mischief’, only cooler)

Now, analysis time. I’m sure you’ve already heard the glory of ‘Giant Tortoise’, the lead single from ‘Giant Tortoise’ that came out a couple months back, and if you haven’t…have you been living under a rock, man? The fuzz and massive power is put to the test, and it succeeds in every way possible. Storming riffs marching their way to victory, Pink Floyd intersecting Black Sabbath in the middle of a orange-tinged cocaine binge. It rhymes, therefore it must be true. If ‘Giant Tortoise’ is old news for you, then you’ll hopefully know about ‘Hobo Rocket’s’ other single ‘Xanman’ as well, which is David Bowie on crack. With the amount of explosive jazz hands that spring to mind when listening to ‘Xanman’, its what I imagine Hunter S. Thompson would perform if he went to Mardis Gras. ‘Xanman’ is the kind of track you want to play on your 30th birthday when Jim Carrey explodes out of a cake, and does a strip-tease with his neck. By the way, somebody make that happen. Somebody make that happen now.

The weird names and boggle-eyed sounds don’t stop at the pre-released single though. Album opener ‘Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide’ answers its own question, a firecracker and a half that alights everything you thought you knew about psychedelic music with a vengeance. ‘Aloneaflameaflower’ brings things down after a hefty 15 minutes of junkie fuelled pysch excitement, and the weird and wonderful introspection of POND is put on full display. The title track shows the kind of fucked up sense of humour and skewed taste of the band; a drunken, gargled rambling delivered by the Aussiest cowboy ever, accompanied by the sounds of Satan throwing up after a big night out. Oh, and the closer, ‘Midnight Mass (At the Market Street Payphone)? That’s where shit goes from transcendental music, to something that shifts more than the plot of Lost. It transforms time after time, jumping from drumming hellfire and demon-possesed molten guitar, to wet and pleading Albrook-ian deliverance. It may just be the best anti-ballad ever written.

POND have cemented their place as Australia’s cool-as-shit band. If mid-80’s Jean Claude Van Damme listened to music, it would be this. Agonisingly enjoyable, pulling you in every direction like an execution of the senses. I can only reiterate that ‘Hobo Rocket’ is probably the most important release of this year, and that this review most definitely does not do it justice. 7 songs, 5 members, infinite amounts of drug-induced jam sessions, and 1 thick, juicy record. Go and fucking buy ‘Hobo Rocket’, the future of music depends on it.

If you liked POND, and pysch, you might dig this essay I wrote about the topic, called ‘What the Fuck Is Psychedelic Music?’. It’s better than burnt brownies, which is to say it’s not that great. POND haven’t announced any tour dates yet, but my money’s on Homebake and Falls.