Pond have completely lost it. They’ve lost their minds, lost their idea of structure, and have completely lost their crippling “Aren’t those just the guys from Tame Impala?” association. While most will immediately lump all of those Perth bands from down under together, it should be Hobo Rocket that splits that nonsense and allows Pond to be noticed for making one of 2013’s most entertaining listens of the year.
If you’re just joining us on this week’s episode of Pond, we’ve got a special guest named Cowboy John. He’s definitely the reason or maybe one of the reasons Hobo Rocket sounds so insane. Yes, it’s easy to use the word insane when describing Cowboy John, who’s been in a mental hospital for 20 some odd years, but that’s beside the point. He guests on “Hobo Rocket,” a track on the latter half of the record that sounds like… well, actually, insanity. There’s a old man muttering completely nonsensical phrases while the music sounds like a gyrating buzz-fest.
Beyond this week’s guest, we had plenty to talk about before, with singles “Xanman” and “Giant Tortoise.” The former is a psych-rock masterpiece, fuming with bliss and colors at the seams. Fast-paced and physical in rhythm, “Xanman’s” hook is delectable and triumphant. The song, much like the hook, rises and rises and rises until a freak-out capable of shaking your spine is the result. “Giant Tortoise” is a slower, but more full experience, with many moments of dreaminess and absolution. The huge, heavy instrumental hook digs deep in the soul and does a furious dance all over it.
Other standouts include the stoney, Sabbathian “Aloneaflameaflower.” Churned to the most beautiful doom-esque sound, the keys play a very mysterious line along with the ever-hypnotic bass. But, like many songs on Hobo Rocket, there’s a twist. Whether it’s speeding up or just completely changing the entire song with no recogntion of noticing the other part, (this one is the latter) it’s all just one element on top of other elements in a very, very quick listen – the album registers at 34:07. Squalling, screaming, and having a blast, Nick Allbrook’s vocal performances aren’t this good. It’s criminal how great he sounds on this particular track.
The longest song on the album definitely feels like a new kind of song for Pond – “Midnight Mass (At The Market Street Payphone)” seems aloof and emotional for about thirty seconds before exploding into a noisegasm of incredible proportions – akin to the album’s starter, “Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide?” Unlike both of these is “O Dharma,” which is much like the “Within You Without You” of this album. It’s spacious, inspiring, and very transcendental.
Altogether, Pond releases a fun album. Fun, you know, meaning boisterous, expressive, entertaining, overwhelming, and (most certainly) enjoyable. Hobo Rocket will fit nicely, next to the rest of the nostalgic but new psychedelic records of 2013. Even though it is certainly spontaneous and short, the feeling of joy is intensified, even if it is for a moment.