Pond (AUS)
Hobo Rocket


3.9
excellent

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
August 11th, 2013 | 43 replies | 7,620 views


Release Date: 08/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A psychedelic freak-fest.

For anyone who isn't quite familiar with Perth's cosmic wunderkinds, Pond have steadily been gathering a lot of mainstream recognition as distinguished gurus in the current re-blooming of the psychedelic mindset. Although Pond shares most of its members with Tame Impala, and even cater to a similar demographic, each band offers their own distinctive brand of '60s-inspired psychedelia. In fact, it's almost like we're being given two different stylings of the same entrée. Where Kevin Parker seems to take the role of a young Brian Wilson, composing florid tunes that are driven by deep emotion, Pond season their music with a satisfyingly aggressive demeanor that takes its influences from the likes of Blue Cheer and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In a sense, Pond can be viewed as the 'anti'-Tame Impala; a heavier and more dynamic version.

Hobo Rocket, while perhaps not being their finest effort to date, certainly showcases an untamed spontaneity that lives up to the group's previous freak-outs. This is an orphistic album of sorts. While Pond are certainly working with a palette that is similar to Kevin Parker's own, their compositions are based on a moderately abstract concept that goes beyond exhibiting colourful vibrancy and dream-like wonder. The agenda in Hobo Rocket is one that continues along the work of its predecessors by unionizing atmosphere and energy. Hobo Rocket takes the band's newfound admiration for mellow ambiences in Beard, Wives, Denim, and incorporates them with the amplified assaults of the first three albums. "Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide?" and "Aloneaflameaflower" are an example of this 'best-of-both-worlds' offering. Here we'll find everything from echoing sonics and dream-pop assertions that keep the listener afloat in a cloud of halcyon splendor, to fuzz-toned heaviness that knocks the listener out like a mean hit of potent weed. While "Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide?" might seem like the more alluring track in comparison, in the way that it accentuates its mood swings with clever hooks and catchy jam breaks in between -- Pond even squeeze in a riff "similar" to Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" to initiate the heavier sections --, "Aloneaflameaflower" is the track that manages to balance intensity and ambience in both a tasteful, yet bombastic fashion.

While "Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide?" comes off as just an explosive opener for the album, "Aloneaflameaflower" takes its time to find the perfect balance between melody and ferocity. "Aloneaflameaflower" is a slow burning track, taking the listener through vast, scenic bridges and exposing us to the most bizarre spectacles that Pond can conjure up. This song is layered with trippy components for a heightened sense of disorientation; from fuzzed-toned grooves to the delicate, yet droning echoes of the keyboard, each element compliments one another to emphasize the song's drug-worshipping vibe. Nick Allbrook also gives one of his most erratic performances here, starting off with a gentle croon to allure us into an 'acidic' euphony, before switching into screeches and harsher tones as "Aloneaflameaflower" transitions into a 'Master Of Reality-meets-Black Foliage' kind of jam. "O Dharma" is one of the few tracks that trades away the ultra-heavy riffs and distorted onslaught for a genuine '60s aura. "O Dharma" draws an obvious influence from vintage psych-pop numbers like The Monkees' "Porpoise Song", as it emulates the flowery melodies and 'Krishna-conscious' attitude of the time. This is, without a doubt, the major highlight of the album. The way it seems to both musically and sonically sway around the senses, it's the feel-good, hazey rock tune that all neo-hippies yearn for.

I have to say, that as a longtime fan of Pond, I am quite pleased with Hobo Rocket as a whole. After surprising fans with their mellowest album to date, Beard, Wives, Denim, it's a predictable decision for Pond to try and please fans by releasing an album that aspires to meet all demands -- in this case, composing an album that reprises the heavier sound of their early work, while remaining focused on their path to laid-back hippie-rock. And yet, Hobo Rocket doesn't quite feel like the home run hitter that Frond and Beard, Wives, Denim felt like. While Hobo Rocket's batch of abstract pop songs might satisfy fans, a number of them don't raise any bars or offer an experience that is outstandingly memorable. Songs like the noise-rocker "Xanman" and the whimsical title track, in particular, feel completely void of any instantly invigorating qualities. Perhaps they'll appear as growers that get stronger with repeated listens, but they hardly contain anything that makes that effort worthwhile. Call it catchiness, charisma or that undefinable quality that draws you closer to a song, to me, these tracks simply don't have it. Luckily the album has more standouts than flops. Main highlights like "Aloneaflameaflower" and "O Dharma" display a sage-like understanding of psychedelia, and while they may not be shy about wearing their influences on their sleeves, they definitely add their own touch of weirdness and cleverness that makes their sound oddly unique. Hobo Rocket is definitely an overall fan-pleaser, and one that compensates for Beard, Wives, Denim by mutating its 'flower power' whimsy into an erratic display of mood swings and horror-show theatrics.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Sleaper
August 10th 2013



3134 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

alonefloweraflame is so good!
so is this review.

Digging: SpaceGhostPurrp - B.M.W. 2: Intoxxxicated

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2013



4334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Thank you. I was a bit worried of how well it was going to turn out. I had little time, but I'm glad to hear its decent.

and yeah, that track is my favourite along with O Dharma.

PunchforPunch
August 10th 2013



5276 Comments


sounds nice

Digging: Vril - Torus

punkomania19
August 11th 2013



76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yes loving this album at the moment

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



18176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome album. Probably my album of the year so far. It keeps getting better with each listen.

Props for reviewing this, Hernan.

Digging: Benoit Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



18176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Disagree with what you said about Xanman, that song has grown to be one of my favourites on here. The title track has grown on me a bit too (didn't like it at all at first), although it's still the weakest track on the album imo. Other than that song I honestly can't fault this.

henryChinaski
August 11th 2013



2456 Comments


Haha this has to be the best album name ever!

Digging: The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



7229 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is really good. Aloneaflameaflower and Giant Tortoise is such a good one-two punch.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2013



9467 Comments


Fantastic review, man, lovely read as usual. Miss you, man < 3

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

slagun
August 11th 2013



569 Comments


Good review, been looking for some modern psychedelic acts recently so Im definitely gonna check these guys out.

Valixous
August 11th 2013



43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Awesome review, you couldn't have said it better.

"...a sage-like understanding of psychedelia..." - It's so true. They know just what it feels and
sounds like, and Hobo Rocket is a perfect example of their unique brand of psychedelia.
Tame Impala's sound captures the euphoric and whimsical side of psychedelic nature,
and Pond seems to capture the energy and the fun and the looseness behind it.

EDIT: After lots of listens, moving up to 4.5. Fucking awesome record!

RivalSkoomaDealer
August 11th 2013



511 Comments


This sounds like something I'd dig. Will check.

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2013



4334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Thanks for the feedback, guys. appreciate it.

@Omaha
missed you too, man. How's the album coming along? I bet it rules.

@Jamie
What's up, Jamie? And yeah, I don't know man, I had trouble getting into both of those tracks. I found "Xanman" kind of cheesy and uninteresting, "Hobo Rocket" felt like a filler (though kind of entertaining in its own way). I think I'm the only one who doesn't dig "Xanman" because I find that everyone likes it.

@Valix
Thanks.

Tame Impala's sound captures the euphoric and whimsical side of psychedelic nature, and Pond seems to capture the energy and the fun and the looseness behind it.

- Exactly. I kind of like how they reflect the duality of the genre, very talented group of guys.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



18176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What's up, Jamie? And yeah, I don't know man, I had trouble getting into both of those tracks. I found "Xanman" kind of cheesy and uninteresting, "Hobo Rocket" felt like a filler (though kind of entertaining in its own way). I think I'm the only one who doesn't dig "Xanman" because I find that everyone likes it.


Not much dude, hope all's good with you. I can definitely understand the title track being considered filler, which is a shame because it's quite a short album and apart from that I find the album to be consistently strong. Xanman certainly isn't the most entertaining song on the album but I quite like it's simplicity (compared to most of the other tracks) and I think it's a really good catchy rocker.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2013



7229 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really like the title track. It reminds me quite a lot of The Velvet Underground, which is never a bad thing.

NightmareCinema16
August 11th 2013



2016 Comments


Nice to see you back. Nice job on the review as well. Would you suggest this to me?

londoncalling457
August 12th 2013



2565 Comments


i prefer tame impala easily but beard, wives, denim is an awesome album. need to check this out quick. nick allbrook is a freak

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 12th 2013



18176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pond > Tame Impala imo. Both rule but I generally find these guys more interesting.

CameoLover
August 12th 2013



415 Comments


Great review, Hernan. The only thing I picked up was the line "to allure us into an 'acidic euphony'".

This album sounds really cool, I'll have to check it out!

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013



4334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

@cameolover
Thanks for catching that. I'll edit that in. cheers.

@nightmare
I'd say so. It's pretty faithful to 60s-style psychedelic rock, but combines it with some modern touches and sounds. Though if you're starting with Pond, I'd say Beard, Wives, Denim or Psychedelic Mango (for a heavier style) are good places to start.



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