POND’s follow up to Man It Feels Like Space Again is a triumph, marrying the sonic creativity of Berlin-era Bowie with some New Romantic style earworms, while also retaining more than a hint of the garage glam this band does so well.
The Weather strikes a perfect balance between finely crafted pop sensibilities and a spirit of bold experimentation to challenge the ears of listeners. Polished gems such as ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ and ‘Paint Me Silver’ could fit comfortably on the last Tame Impala album (notably, Kevin Parker is a former member of the band and producer on this album). But for every moment of pop perfection there’s an expansive sonic opus to take us to truly surprising places.
The album opens with one of these, ‘30000 Megatons’, playing with synthesiser sounds like something out of Bowie’s Low. It’s a dark meditation on the nuclear threat and proves quite prescient given the state of world tensions at the time of the album’s release. POND certainly haven’t lost their sense of humour (abundantly clear at other points of the LP), but they are capable of some deadly serious reflection.
The two parts of ‘Edge Of The World’ form the heart of the record, confidently delivering on the band’s most ambitious pieces. ‘Part 1’, at the the record’s midpoint, begins in deceptively understated dream-like fashion, brightening up in the middle section and resolving to something sounding like Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ has been put through the garage glam blender. It’s a brilliant piece.
‘Part 2’, the penultimate track, follows a similar pattern but this time with a stronger sense of melody. The song’s soundscape owes much to Dark Side Of The Moon, resolving to a big refrain that brings to mind Floyd’s ‘Brain Damage’. The wonderfully cheeky reference to Gina Rinehart reminds us that this is very much an album geographically situated in the band’s hometown of Perth.
Outside of these big songs, The Weather offers a host of other fantastic moments. ‘A/B’ is as binary in its construction as the title suggests: first half frenetic psyche jam and a second part of softer blue-eyed neo-soul. Meanwhile, the band’s sense of humour drives ‘All I want For Xmas (Is A Tascam 388). We then get mellow on the wonderfully wonky and spaced out sounds of the title track to close the album.
The Weather succeeds so defintively because it intrinsically feels like an album. Sure the songs are great but, taken as a whole, they fit together perfectly. This is a bold and brilliant work from some very creative minds.
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor