It’s easy to pigeonhole the Australian psychedelic pop outfit Pond as simply a Tame Impala offshoot. I mean, it’s kind of accurate: the group is partially made up of a current Tame Impala touring member, bassist Jay Watson, and former touring member, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Nick Allbrook.
However, both bands got started around the same time a decade ago in Perth, Australia. Impala's mastermind Kevin Parker was even Pond's drummer for a bit in the beginning (before, you know, taking over the world). And as such, the guys in Pond have had to live in Tame Impala's massive shadow ever since. Turns out, that’s just fine.
“Nah, it doesn’t bother me,” Allbrook wrote me in a recent email exchange.
I suppose it wouldn’t. If it did, the Coachella-bound group probably wouldn’t have enlisted Parker himself to helm production duties on their upcoming studio album, “The Weather” (out May 5 via Marathon Artists; preorder here). In fact, it’ll be his fourth official time behind the board for the band -- previously credited as producer on their “Beard, Wives, Denim” (2012), “Hobo Rocket” (2013) and “Man It Feels Like Space Again” (2015) albums. Why repeatedly return to that particular well?
“Because he's a best friend,” Allbrook explained. “We all already understand each other’s tastes down to the finest detail, and he's one of the best producers in the world.”
While Parker doesn’t contribute to the songwriting in Pond (“He’s another creative head” in the process, I was told), his fingerprints are all over the new record: “The Weather” is a swirling, labyrinthine mix of late-‘60s psychedelia, funky grooves, growling synths, and modern pop experimentalism lead by Allbrook’s Bowie-esque delivery.
And if you’ve seen any of the blogosphere coverage about the new record, you’d have undoubtedly read a quote from Pond's frontman (allegedly) describing it as a “concept album” about the “contradictory things that make up a lot of colonial cities around the world.” However, Allbrook told me otherwise.
“That's actually a misquote. I was saying it's not a concept album. It did turn out to be focused on that sort of s---, but it's all so fleeting in its perspectives and subjects and where and when the tongue is placed in relation to the cheek...ya dig? So it's not really a concept album.”
Concept album or not, it’ll mark the collective’s seventh full-length studio effort in nearly as many years -- and any way you cut it, that’s a prolific output compared to most of their peers. But you know who’s not impressed? The guys in Pond.
“It's really not that amazing,” Allbrook wrote me. “There are so many other artists in so many other fields with outputs that I find absolutely staggering. We just let the things happen when they happen.”