Man, It Feels Like Space Again

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Australian psych pop weirdos Pond existed for a time in the shadows of their somewhat more accessible sister band Tame Impala, both groups sharing multiple members and an obsession with the acid-damaged psychedelia of the '60s and early '70s. When Pond frontman/songwriter Nick Allbrook left his position as touring bassist with Tame Impala in 2013, his cleared schedule kicked Pond into high gear, with Allbrook writing the majority of their dark fifth album, Hobo Rocket, and corralling his band to record the album in just four days. Just over a year later, Man, It Feels Like Space Again emerged as the band's sixth full-length, this time far more ambitious, unexpectedly funky, and cosmically colorful. Even with just nine tunes of moderate length, MIFLSA feels every bit as epic as the mind-expanding double albums of '70s freaker-outers like Pink Floyd and Hawkwind. The production drifts through different styles minute to minute as well as song to song. The band takes flight with all the blissed-out chamber pop friendliness of Super Furry Animals or Spiritualized on album opener "Waiting Around for Grace," moving quickly to a far more swaggering glam rock feel on "Elvis' Flaming Star," which sounds like Ariel Pink imitating Bowie. The album rarely slows down, offering up track after track of blown-out guitar tones, drifting synths, and even the occasional sound effect of atom bomb explosions. Things feel pleasantly crowded, from the laser beam party rock of "Zond" to the Funkadelic-flavored groove of "Outside Is the Right Side." The band finally takes a breather with the beautifully spare Dylanesque acoustic opening of "Medicine Hat." It's a stark contrast to the glimmering psych tones that saturate the rest of the album, but the respite is short-lived. By the second half of the tune, the band is back in full force, layering the song's soft structure with armies of fuzzy guitar tones. Somewhat disorienting, MIFLSA is a messy, incredible collection of damaged pop, and shows a band that's been forming for a while stepping into its full capabilities.

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