Pond

Beard, Wives, Denim

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Since Tame Impala guitarist Nick Albrook is also Pond's chief songwriter and there are a few lineup overlaps, comparisons between the two Australian neo-psych pop groups are inevitable. Unlike Innerspeaker, super-producer Dave Fridmann doesn't man the boards on this one, but the farmhouse production is affected with virtually the same tape echo, leslie speaker wobble, and vintage guitar tones. This puts the two on the same sonic playing field, but because of Pond's willingness to take risks, Beard, Wives, Denim doesn't feel distinctive or as firmly indebted to classic psychedelic music. With influences that range from David Crosby to Spiritualized, Pond's songs are widely varied. "Fantastic Explosion of Time" is a grungy, garage rock fireball; "You Broke My Cool" injects '50s style into '70s glam; "Elegant Design" is a sly homage to funk, sung in a womanly falsetto, and "Moreno's Blend" is a raw, acoustic porch jam. Every melody is blanketed in psychedelic sounds, giving a unified feel to the record, even if the music isn't always easily containable. However, Pond is at their best when they go full force into watercolor psych, like in the fantastically trippy "When it Explodes," and "Sorry I Was Under the Sky." These songs could be B-sides to Innerspeaker. The only difference is that Tame Impala seem completely sincere about returning to the late '60s/early '70s. Pond is like an incorrigible younger sibling that is determined to learn by making mistakes. Both groups' records are essential.

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